It sounds like Mike Tomlin was disappointed that Alejandro Villanueva didn’t remain in the locker room yesterday with the rest of his teammates during the national anthem:
NY POST – Head coach Mike Tomlin said the team held a players-only meeting Saturday to discuss their options. Whatever they did, Tomlin said, they would do 100 percent. They could not come to an agreement whether to stand, sit or kneel as a team, and so they decided to abstain from the anthem entirely (which was then construed as its own protest, such is the pick-a-side nature of the situation).
“I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin told reporters when asked about Villanueva after the Steelers’ 23-17 overtime loss.
The disappointment in Tomlin’s answer comes through more clearly when you listen to the actual audio.
It starts around 2:15:
I get that he is generally perturbed by the entire situation and wanted 100 percent participation from his team, but to publically express disappointment in a man who was not only a Captain in the U.S. Army, but an “Army Ranger who earned a Bronze Star for Valor in serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan” just seems like something he might wish he could take back.
This would have been a better reaction by Tomlin:
“I don’t want to go into that, but we support our guy Al,” defensive end Cam Heyward said about Villanueva, who did not talk to media after the game. “He feels he had to do it. This guy served our country, and we thank him for it.”
Now that’s a great way to handle it and Heyward sounds like a stand up guy. Kudos to him for respecting his veteran teammate.