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Published: Wed, September 27, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Steelers' Villanueva 'embarrassed' he stood alone for national anthem

Steelers' Villanueva 'embarrassed' he stood alone for national anthem

"Unfortunately, I threw my teammates under the bus, unintentionally", Villanueva said in a press conference Monday.

The former Army Ranger says he is absolutely okay if teammates kneed or sit during the anthem.

Ben Roethlisberger stated on Monday that he told Villanueva to join the captains at the front of the tunnel, but that they got separated by flags and Bears fans, and the captains stopped walking when the anthem performance began.

His actions weren't supported by everyone - including his own coach.

"I've made Coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only", he said. "We were gonna be respectful of our football team".

But Villanueva said his stance on the field resulted from a communication mistake, and he now regrets how he made his team-mates look.

One Pittsburgh Steelers fan is burning all of his gear after the NFL team chose not to come out of the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem before Sunday's game.

The video was * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/181728" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *one of several posted to social media showing people burning National Football League paraphernalia in protest over players not standing for the anthem. Three teams - the Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks - didn't come to the sideline for the song. "I just thought there would be some middle-ground where I can stand in the tunnel, nobody could see me, and then afterwards I wouldn't talk to the media like I do all the time". Roethlisberger said the team will be on the field for the anthem before their next game Sunday in Baltimore. "I personally don't believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest", Rothlisberger continued.

Meanwhile, the protests continue in the wake of President Trump's weekend critique of players who kneel in protest over racial inequality during the national anthem.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had announced before the game that the team would wait out the anthem off the field specifically to avoid political statements.

He said Villanueva's subsequent "apology" is just an example of him being a great teammate and putting the team before himself. "This guy served our country, and we thank him for it", Cam Heyward said.

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