Steelers player who stood for National Anthem alone has top selling jersey

Richard Petty stands with Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace NASCAR's first black driver in over a decade

However, that's not exactly what happened.

Yet somehow the NFL players' putative right to disrespect the national anthem has been turned into the crisis du jour.

The NFL began the practice of having players on the sideline during the national anthem in 2009, although some teams had observed the tradition previously.

Some Steelers fans were upset by this, but before jumping to an opinion, it's important to listen to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin explain that decision.

Not all Steelers players were bothered or surprised by Villanueva's decision, however. In a statement posted to his personal website, Big Ben sounded regretful that he stood in the tunnel with his team.

It's the top seller in the league after the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle broke with his team and walked out of the tunnel for the national anthem.

"When everyone sees an image of me by myself, everybody thinks the team and the Steelers are not behind me, and that's absolutely wrong", he said.

And guard David DeCastro had mixed feelings about the protests and demonstrations that have taken place during the anthem in general.

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"Out of love for our country and in honour of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms".

As for Villanueva, although he was only a few yards in front of his teammates, he apparently went rogue and made the decision to break ranks on his own, according to ESPN.com.

Tomlin added: "Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation".

- President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag".

For three days, Trump has drawn criticism from the worlds of politics and sports for saying that football players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.

"For us as a football team, it's about us remaining solid".

Veteran linebacker James Harrison admitted he was unaware of Villanueva's intentions. "But, I guess we weren't".

"This collection of men, we are chasing something here in 2017 and we are not going to play with football players and football coaches".

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