From the battlefields of Afghanistan to the sidelines of the National Football League, Americans love true patriots. Like Anthony Villanueva, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger and who, on Sunday, stood alone among the Pittsburgh Steelers in honoring America. You can put Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manager Dave Roberts in the same category.
An unbylined story in USA Today dealt with Roberts’ courageous stand. He is an African-American and the son of the late Waymon Roberts, a career military man. Born on a military base in Okinawa in 1972, Roberts said, “I’d have a problem (protesting the flag and national anthem) because my father served this country for 30 years and I understand. I can appreciate…however they act, and that’s personal.”
“But I would just ask every person to really be educated. (Protest) has been in baseball, it’s been in sports,” Roberts said. “But the thing is, really think long and hard, and really be educated on why you’re doing what you’re doing. After that it’s each individual player’s decision.”
The former Army Ranger Villanueva is now in his third season with the Steelers and starts at left tackle. According to USA Today’s Nate Davis, the team was “internally united but had decided to ‘stay away from the situation’ given different opinions – the offensive line wanted to stand for the anthem – on how to handle Trump’s remarks from a Friday rally in Alabama, when he said protesting players should be fired and were “sons of b——.”
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While his Steelers’ teammates hunkered down in the clubhouse before Sunday’s game in Chicago, Villanueva went outside to see the flag. That’s when the anthem started up and, given his love of country as a veteran, he didn’t feel he could move, so he stayed outside and sang along. Now he feels he broke ranks and threw his team “under the bus.”
“I’m not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice,” Villanueva said. “Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed.”
And that’s the USA Today’s story line. He broke ranks and dissed his team. He’s no hero.
Americans strongly disagree with the liberal newspaper. They know a hero when they see one. In the past two days, they’ve made his shirt the top seller on NFLShop.com and Fanatics.com.