WATCH: Steelers Coach Suggests It Was Disrespectful For Alejandro Villanueva To Stand For Flag

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin wasn't happy with Alejandro Villanueva leaving the locker room to stand for the flag.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t happy with Alejandro Villanueva leaving the locker room to stand for the flag.

Coach Tomlin Reacts To Alejandro Villanueva Leaving Locker Room

Chicago, IL – As the national anthem played at the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears NFL game on Sunday, one Steelers player ran to the end of the tunnel and stood, with helmet at his side, and right hand over his heart.

The rest of the Steelers players remained in the locker room refusing to come out for the national anthem.

Apparently Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t pleased with Alejandro Villanueva’s decision(video below.)

At a post-game press conference, he said that the protest wasn’t his decision but that he was “hoping for 100 percent participation in whatever course the team took”.

When asked about Villanueva coming out, Tomlin wasn’t happy.

“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation. We are going to be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.

Villaneuva is a decorated Army veteran, and now an offensive tackle for the Steelers.  In 2014, he told CBS News reporter Don Dahler why he joined the Army, and said, “I just couldn’t stand by the sidelines and watch other people do the work.”

He is a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor.  Villaneuva played football in college at the United States Military Academy.  He played with the Philadelphia Eagles before joining the Steelers.

A players-only meeting was held by the Steelers on Saturday night, September 23, to discuss options for response to the President’s comments, according to CBS News.

NFL players on other teams had been kneeling for the anthem at previous football games, while others stood prior to Sunday’s games, but many teams came together in a show of solidarity and either kneeled, stood with arms linked, or remained in the locker room.

The Steelers players were divided in their response to Villaneuva’s decision. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and several other players said that they supported Villaneuva’s decision. Cornerback Joe Haden said “as a team we’re behind him 100 percent.”  Other Steelers players disagreed.

Coach Tomlin said  “…we are not politicians, we’re coaches and professional athletes. If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I’m going to be supportive of that, but when we come out of locker rooms we come out to play football games. To be quite honest with you, I didn’t appreciate our football team being dragged into politics this weekend.”

Our partners at Warrior 12, who print our Blue Lives Matter shirts, have launched a limited edition pre-order Stand For The Flag shirt so that can proudly display that you don’t kneel.


You can get your Stand For The Flag shirt HERE.

You can see the interview with coach Tomlin below:

  • $17689669

    Apparently the real hero ran towards the danger while the amateurs stayed behind to hide. He understands duty and honor unlike the rest. How is this not a “hostile workplace?”

  • Jonas Blane ll

    Of a white man wouldn’t protest Injustice like his fellow black athletes are doing.

    • SillyVoiceOfReason

      Ah Jonas, you again… He’s Latino, and you have no idea what his struggles have been. Your hate has got to be killing you inside.

      • Jonas Blane ll

        He’s Latino. What does that mean?

        • SillyVoiceOfReason

          I mean: you and I have our struggles and things that are important, and so does he. Why do you always post such hateful racist stuff? Perhaps it would hurt him more to kneel, than it would to disappoint his coach by standing. And, perhaps he doesn’t care what color anyone is.

          • Jonas Blane ll

            I notice you didn’t answer the question.

          • Kathleen Browne

            Absolutely LOVE your response!

      • Highest common denominator

        He’s both white and latino. One is race, one is ethnicity. But he’s definitely white.

        • SillyVoiceOfReason

          Sad thing is that some seem to have a problem with that. So, if he gets a really good tan that changes something? I just wish y’all would get beyond color.

          • Highest common denominator

            Well, i just wish *all would get beyond color. That’s the best way to shut everyone up, including me.

          • Bee Sun

            Yes please shut up.

    • AAA

      the NFL is like slavery, for million of dollars a year.

    • Robert Pashka

      Are you hillary Clinton?

  • jrk

    It wasn’t Trump who started this controversy but NFL players and they have continued to do so even through all the controversy that surrounds their actions. Can’t blame Trump for what they started. He has his right to free speech just as they claim they are exercising. Although others have paid a price for that right they enjoy.

  • Craig1748

    Mike Tomlin is a huge disappointment to many of us today!! Not that he cares, just as he has shown he does not care about our country!!

  • richardstarr

    So apparently we are suppose to “respect” freedom of speech so long as it agrees with what the coach says it is.

    • Highest common denominator

      Nope. Coach said he supports all players decisions.

      • richardstarr

        Sure he did. And now the poor guy got pressured into apologizing for standing,

        • Lisa Royle

          Now he was presured to apologize for standing up for what he believes. Shame on the Steelers.

  • dasher

    It’s all about team, huh? This delusional coach actually seems to be trying to sell us the comparison between a professional football team, where tomorrow you could callously be released if someone better becomes available, and a military, police, or fire rescue operation, where men and women will literally give their lives for their brothers and sisters. The NFL is so committed to “the team” that it concealed the consequences of repeated head trauma from its performers as long as it possibly could! The NFL, where you can be bought, sold, traded…like a slave!

    My feeling all along has been that nothing good can come from this middle finger at America style of protest. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe millions of Americans will finally see the league and many of its players and coaches for the asses they truly are. Maybe millions of Americans are being pissed off to the point they’ll tune out on Sunday afternoons and find other things to do. Maybe some of those pursuits will accomplish something loftier than putting more money in the pockets of greedy owners. Maybe these players should spend more time thinking on that reality and less on newer and more outrageous ways to preen in the end zone. They could meditate on this while driving around in their luxury SUVs looking for dope, guns, strip clubs, or women to beat up.

  • Deny

    “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation. We are going to be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.

    How about being respectful to Villaneuva then coach. You and the rest of those cowards can kiss my a$$.

    • Highest common denominator

      He was. He also said “If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I’m going to be supportive of that.”

      Did you read the whole article?

      • Ceasar213

        They didn’t protest against veterans of the United States, all this started last yr. By colin caperknick, for so many shooting of unarmed black civilians, by law enforcement, let’s not change the topic that they are disrespecting the flag, it’s there way of protest, for the shooting of unarmed civilians

        • Highest common denominator

          You responded to the wrong person.

        • Jim Miller

          Where any of those “victims” resisting arrest?

          • Eric Via

            They were never taught respect and don’t want to comply.

        • proteus

          They don’t know what they’re protesting anymore. Hopefully they will be protesting their cut in salary!

        • watchyatalkinabout

          Sir .. with all due respect.. kapperdink did in fact say he could not stand for a flag for a Nation that kills black men.then he modified it and changed it twice.. He should not have disrespected the American Flag.. remember it’s the one that has been draped over the caskets of young men and women who gave their lives protecting his rights…. If he wanted to bring attention to a need for change, he should have pissed on the Maryland and Illinois flag..and cleaned up with the Michigan flag.. since Detroit has become the murder Capitol of the US closing in on 300 this year.. mostly black on black..

  • Craven Morehead

    No surprise here. This is the same guy when asked about being considered by some to be a “players coach” said, “why, because I’m black?” Sounds like he’s got a chip on his shoulder when it comes to race.

  • MNBlumax

    “Disrespectful” to stand for the US flag ?!? In what alternate universe have we landed ?? Orwell must be spinning at 3000 rpm in his grave.

  • AAA

    The difference between “college boys” and “SERVICEMEN”

  • kelly kujawa

    thank you USVEWTERAN Allendro. you have served your country well and still you r serving. i believe the steelers coach needs to spend few years in military so he finds out who deserves respect. how many nfl players are willing to give up their million dollar salaries and playing of games to join the US ARMY or US MARINES?

  • Kathleen Browne

    Lol. Where’s the free speech now?

  • SG

    Respect for this player and veteran, I won’t have any problem buying his merchandise and thank you for your service.

  • Lynette Skeen Ball


    We will not watch any more NFL football because the knee benders are using it as a racial soapbox. Where was the NFL defending Tim Tebow’s right to kneel after a touchdown?
    Is this a reverse discrimination against white people showing support of their beliefs and right to express themselves or was it discrimination against our religious beliefs?

    The NFL blackballed Tim Tebow for the same action when his action was giving thanks to his maker for allowing him to take his team to a victory, but is condoning this “give me, give me” group for an action that has nothing to do with what they are doing on the field!!! I applaud Alejandro Villaneuva’s decision to honor his flag and what it stands for!! he is someone that will always come out on top because he is a class act!

    • Highest common denominator

      Tim tebow didn’t get picked up because no one believed he could be a consistent winning qb and saw him more as a blocking tight end, and he didn’t want to play another position.

      Stop inventing shit to make a flimsy argument.

    • David Monaghan

      You GO, SISTER!! Where is the respect for Tebow? None! Villaneuva will be traded,,,,you watch and see! Steelers will drop him at the end of the season!

  • ProUSAProGOD

    Alejandro Villanueva may only be one man, but as Thomas Jefferson said, “One man with courage is a majority.”

    • Highest common denominator

      That would also apply to Colin Kaepernick. Both went against what their team did.

      Before you respond, keep in mind that just because you don’t like someone’s actions doesn’t mean it didn’t take courage to act.

      • Eric Via

        What’s so hard about learning the words respect and comply. I guess it seems like work. This is a big joke no one takes these black people serious when you have all this black on black murders and you don’t see them protesting it, no they want to protest against cops who has a suspect who wont comply. Over 500 blacks killed in chicago alone this year. GTFOH bunch of Idiots.

        • Highest common denominator

          Those protests are happening. Funny how people can think more then one thing is bad at the same time.

          • Eric Via

            Uh huh, funny how It’s not all over news. I haven’t seen any looting or rioting about it. Isn’t that how they usually do it.

          • Highest common denominator

            Not at all. And it’s not on the news because it’s not sensational.

          • Robert Pashka

            No, it’s not on the national news because it doesn’t fit the storyline the MSM keeps pushing.

          • Eric Via

            If it is it’s probably because no one’s participating, because it’s not against white people or authority figures. (Police)

        • David Monaghan

          Chicago has and always will be the MURDER capital of the US. No one gives a rat’s ass, not even Obummer himself, about his home state. From the 20’s on, it has been the home of gangsters, murder, violence and mayhem every chance they will never end until they put a stop to ALL the violence. Rahm is not doing squat to end the disgusting racial violence…except to promote it. Sad.

          • Eric Via

            Racial violence, do you mean black on white crime?

  • Darryl Curtis

    The political pundits and the media laughed at Donald Trump and made jokes about him before the Republican primaries…they thought Trump had no chance…but Trump won the Republican nomination…The political pundits and the media predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency by a landslide…but Trump won that as well…Donald Trump has earned billions of dollars in his career, has millions of devotees, was popularly elected by the citizens of the United States of America to be the most powerful man on the planet, and almost as many people attend his rallies just to hear him talk that come to Pittsburgh Steelers football games…Pittsburgh Steelers, President Donald Trump is not the person you want to mess with. Don’t let ESPN goad you into doing something stupid like they have done…as they are also going down…Donald Trump is Michael Corleone in real life…Don’t end up like Hillary…you and the NFL would be wise to figure out some way to make up with Donald Trump…

  • Dawn Blake

    He served THREE tours for his country. What have you done, coach?

  • JDeeds

    Go to hell Tomlin

  • Jimmyd2

    Villanueva earned the right to stand, sit, kneel during the pledge based on what he did on the battlefield after three tours in Afghanistan. Much respect to him for his service to our country! I had all but given up on the NFL until I heard this story.

  • John810

    I am disappointed to hear that Villanueva has now flip flopped on his stance and has fell into ranks with the anti police crowd. Too bad, but he has a wife and kids to support!

  • David Monaghan

    This coach as well as others, SUCK! MAKE THEM STAND! They get millions to play and to get involved in Social injustices and use the field to promote their cause, BS! JUST PLAY THE GAME and deal with the issues off the field!

  • watchyatalkinabout

    The appolgy buy a Decorated Hero was coerced. tomlin told him to take the blame, or take the bench.. Hostility in the workplace personified.