Tony Katz Today
NFL: Steelers' Coach Angry with Alejandro Villanueva for Standing During National Anthem
(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Most of the Pittsburgh Steelers were not on the sidelines Sunday during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
In a statement released before the game head coach Mike Tomlin said the team would not play politics and remain off the field until after the anthem played.
“We’re not going to play politics,” Tomlin said. “We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from this circumstance.”
The lone exception was Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who stood in view of fans just outside the tunnel for the national anthem with a hand over his heart.
Coach Tomlin was reportedly angered by Villanueva's decision. NFL fans, however, are clearly in support of Villanueva. The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman became the best-selling player in the NFL Monday.
A spokesman for Fanatics, which runs the NFL's online store, reported to ESPN that over the past 24 hours, more Villanueva gear, including jerseys and name and number T-shirts, has been ordered than that of any other NFL player.
WIBC host Tony Katz discussed Alejandro Villanueva's decision to stand alone Sunday.
Part of the knock on Colin Kaepernick made himself more important than the team, yet that seems to be okay. But when Alejandro Villanueva makes himself front and center, somehow that's a problem.
I think Alejandro Villanueva is going to become a test subject, and let me tell you why. Because if I have heard one thing over and over for the last 48 hours from the NFL, it's that the NFL is a family.
...If the NFL is family, will they stand behind [Villanueva] and defend his right to stand up for what he believes in?
...What happens if Villanueva defies his coach and gets fired? Will the NFL 'family' back him up? Do they believe that Alejandro Villanueva has the right to stand up? Will they say there is any racist component to it?
Get the link below to hear more from Tony on the NFL controversy and Alejandro Villanueva's decision to stand alone Sunday: