PITTSBURGH (CBS4) – Jersey sales for Alejandro Villanueva are going through the roof.
Villanueva is the Pittsburgh Steelers player who stood at the end of the player’s tunnel Sunday during the national anthem while the rest of the team stayed in the locker room.
The team decision not to take the field for the anthem came following President Donald Trump’s remarks Friday night, which he reiterated throughout the weekend, saying that players should be fired for not standing during the national anthem.
Players around the league, including the Denver Broncos, protested at the start of the day’s games. Many took a knee, locked arms, or stood with a hand on a teammate’s shoulder in a show of support. Others, like the Steelers, did not take the field at all.
Villanueva, an Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, surprised his team by taking the field. As a result, the next day, according to Fanatics.com, his jersey is now the top seller in the league.
Villanueva did not speak about his decision following the team’s loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Defensive end Cameron Heyward was one who did, though.
“Al’s a hell of a man,” Heyward said. “I appreciate everything he does. Just thinking about, you know, we have multiple people that have family members that serve our country and we never want to take anything away from them. We never want to turn our back on our military. But there was a stand made by multiple people, multiple teams, and you know, we all want to stick together through this.”
Heyward didn’t say if the team’s locker room protest will continue next week.
“It doesn’t continue [next] Sunday. It continues on Monday,” he said. “We have to get back in the community. Just making a stand doesn’t do it.”