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Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva admits embarrassment after 'standing alone' for national anthem

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Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva explains why he appeared to stand alone for the national anthem.

Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva has admitted his embarrassment after appearing to stand alone for the national anthem.

Villanueva, who has served three tours of Afghanistan with the US Army, was then joined by the rest of his Steelers team-mates to a chorus of boos before their game against Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

"It's a very embarrassing part on my end," Villanueva said on Monday. "When everyone sees images of me standing by myself, everybody thinks the team and the Steelers are not behind me and that is absolutely wrong. It's quite the opposite."

A number of other teams have shown a sign of unity in the past few weeks by kneeling and linking arms for the national anthem.

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This is despite President Donald Trump saying last week that players should be fired if they protest against perceived racial injustice in the United States by not standing for the anthem.

Villanueva added: "The decision was 'Do you walk out of the national anthem and join your teammates?

"I know that would have looked extremely bad. Or as a team do you start moving halfway through the national anthem? What you can get out of this is that we essentially butchered our plan.

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"The entire team would have been out there with me, even the ones that wanted to take a knee would have been there with me had they known these extremely [difficult] circumstances."

Steelers quarter-back Ben Roethlisberger has admitted the entire team will take the field for the anthem when Pittsburgh plays in Baltimore on Sunday.

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