Alejandro Villanueva told reporters during a Monday presser that he was “unintentionally” at the end of the tunnel alone.
The former Army Ranger said it was an accident and he has no problem with his teammates kneeling.
The photo of Mr. Villanueva standing publicly for the anthem was spread widely but he later said that was an accident and his teammates were directly behind him. He said he didn’t realize he was out their alone.
Alejandro Villanueva told reporters he “unintentionally” threw his teammates under the bus.
“Unfortunately I threw my teammates under the bus, unintentionally,” Villanueva said. “Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself I feel embarrassed.”
He told reporters that he had asked Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he could lead the team out of the tunnel with the captains, but the plan was messed up due to confusion at the end of the tunnel, reports said.
“When we came out of the locker room into that tunnel, it was a very small area. There was a flag or something coming off the field so there were a bunch of Bears fans, coming off the field holding that going in front of us, so it kind of held us up,” he said.
While Villanueva kept running, the team stayed back in the tunnel.
“I made my teammates look bad, and that’s my fault, and my fault only,” Villanueva said. “We as a team tried to figure it out, but obviously butchered it.”
Villanueva said that he does not mind if his teammates choose to take a knee or sit during the anthem, adding that some of the players who have protested, have also thanked him for his service.
The offensive tackle said on Monday, “People that are taking a knee are not saying anything negative about the military, they’re not saying anything negative about the flag, they’re just trying to protest that there are some injustices in America.”
We strongly disagree. It’s very disrespectful of the military and the nation.