ShareThis Page

Steeler Alejandro Villanueva's jersey sales jump after standing for anthem

Matthew Santoni
| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 12:04 p.m.

Online jersey sales for Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva jumped after he was the only player to leave the tunnel and stand on the field during the national anthem Sunday amid league-wide protests.

The former U.S.Army Ranger's jersey was listed as the top seller among more than 10,000 football jersey products sold on NFLShop.com on Monday morning.

Villanueva was the top-selling NFL player over the last 24 hours, with the most jersey, T-shirt and other merchandise sales, said Brandon Williams, director of public relations for Fanatics, which runs NFLshop.com. \Williams did not have specific sales numbers to release, but said Villanueva had outsold Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers over the same 24-hour period.

Players throughout the NFL on Sunday kneeled, linked arms or put their hands on kneeling teammates as a sign of protest after President Donald Trump's remarks suggesting the league should fire any “son of a b----” who doesn't stand during the anthem.

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick had started kneeling last season in protest of racism and the killing of unarmed black men by police, but he has not been picked up by any teams in free agency this season.

Villanueva, a veteran of multiple terms in Afghanistan, surprised his teammates , who had agreed Saturday not to single out any players by remaining in their locker room during the anthem, according to ESPN. Instead, Villanueva took the field and the rest of the team remained in the tunnel before their loss to the Bears in Chicago.

While the Steelers had intended to act as a whole and not single out any players for whether or not they protested, they still faced backlash from fans for not coming onto the field.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

The Steelers' Alejandreo Villanueva stood for the national anthem as the rest of the team stayed in the tunnel before the game against the Bears on Sunday.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Alejandreo Villanueva stood for the national anthem as the rest of the team stayed in the tunnel before the game against the Bears on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers players stand in the tunnel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Pittsburgh Steelers players stand in the tunnel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva plays against the Vikings Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva plays against the Vikings Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 at Heinz Field.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.