CHICAGO — The only member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to take the field for the anthem now says he regrets his actions.
Alejandro Villanueva is a lineman and U.S. Army veteran. His stand has made his jersey one of the top sellers in the NFL.
But in a statement on Monday, he said he unintentionally threw his teammates under the bus.
He said that every time he sees the picture of him standing by himself, he feels embarrassed.
USA Today reports that Villanueva’s presence outside the tunnel happened by mistake. Villanueva wanted to see the flag before the start of the game but was still outside when the anthem started, and he did not want to move once it began.
USA Today said he felt as though he’d broken ranks.
Villanueva said he has no problem with players who protest during the anthem.