The right to free speech is under serious threat in the United States — on campus and wherever else leftist opinion holds sway. Yet somehow the NFL players’ putative right to disrespect the national anthem has been turned into the crisis du jour. Yesterday the players’ putative right was transformed into a mass movement.
Indeed, the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team remained in the locker room during the anthem, with the exception of one player. The one player was Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (photo below, video at bottom). At the Daily Caller Peter Hasson notes: “While the rest of his teammates remained in the locker room, Villanueva stood in the tunnel holding his helmet in his left hand and holding his right hand over his heart as the anthem played.”
Villanueva played college football at West Point. He served in the Army as a Ranger, turning in three tours in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor.
Turning up on the field and respecting the anthem in the traditional style, Villanueva defied the wishes of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Hasson adds in a separate report Tomlin’s statement in a post-game press conference that he was looking for “100 percent participation” in whatever course of action the team took during the national anthem.
Well, if I may say so, and if it is not presumptuous to say so, I stand with Villaneuva. Here is a man.
PAUL ADDS: Villanueva was the Steelers highest graded offensive lineman and second highest graded player on offense yesterday, according to Pro Football Focus.
STEVE adds: I think Villaneuva should ask to be traded to the Cowboys.