Alejandro Villanueva presenting Pittsburgh Steelers with Army helmet decals for Veterans Day weekend


PITTSBURGH — The Steelers will acknowledge Veterans Day this weekend by sporting helmet decals representing the badorted Army divisions in an effort led by left deal with Alejandro Villanueva.

Villanueva, whose background as a former Army Ranger made him a distinguished determine within the league’s controversy over the nationwide anthem, informed ESPN he’s presenting every Steelers teammate with a helmet decal representing certainly one of 13 Army divisions for Sunday’s recreation towards the Indianapolis Colts.

“It’s just a small-unit patch that really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the history behind it means the whole world to a lot of veterans,” Villanueva stated. “They died for that patch. When you watch the Steelers on Sunday and you see the flash of the 10th round division and the 7th round division … you’re calling out specific units.”

Villanueva was a part of the 10th Mountain and 75th Ranger Regiment divisions and served in Afghanistan earlier than turning into an NFL participant.

He is pairing the decals with gamers whose personalities match the spirit of a selected division. Villanueva obtained the decals from the Army soccer staff and stated he has cleared their game-day utilization by the Steelers.

As an instance of his course of, Villanueva will give proper deal with Chris Hubbard the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” Division decal as a result of the participant and division are recognized for reserved however environment friendly workmanship. Backup quarterback Landry Jones will get the first Armored Division partially as a result of Jones is aware of Villanueva’s brother-in-law, who served with that division.

During protests in Week three, Villanueva stood alone exterior of the tunnel throughout the nationwide anthem, which he and different gamers categorised as a confusion within the Steelers’ try to answer President Donald Trump’s explosive feedback about NFL gamers days earlier.

Villanueva stated Veterans Day was a really perfect time to honor troopers by the decals for the reason that NFL permits it this week. He has notified coach Mike Tomlin of his plans.

But Villanueva is aware of that alone will not bridge what he calls a rising divide between the NFL and components of the navy. He notices this when he visits veteran hospitals each Tuesday.

“There’s tension between the veteran community and the NFL. You go to VFWs, and they won’t show NFL games,” Villanueva stated. “[Veterans] do not know if it is, ‘Do we now have to dwell in a utopian, excellent nation so that you can arise for the nationwide anthem?’ It’s a really powerful idea for lots of veterans to grasp. I shuttle as a result of I am in the course of this complete factor. I am a soccer participant, however clearly the flag is a very powerful factor to me whereas I am on this nation.

“At the tip of the day, individuals love soccer. It’s a actuality. We should not deprive ourselves of this nice sport due to the unlucky issues which might be surrounding issues taking place off the sector.”

Villanueva has felt miscast throughout the anthem fallout, saying the media has used him “as a device” for his or her agenda. He has been agency on supporting the flag whereas additionally respecting the rights of his teammates.

Though he has observed the NFL is making an attempt to baduage this public relations drawback, Villanueva stated the decals merely acknowledge how he compares his teammates to “elite teams of males.”

“I am not honoring veterans. I am honoring my family and friends,” Villanueva said. “For me, it is a day by day factor. It’s not, ‘Let’s honor Veterans Day and let’s be sure we do our camo gear and change to a different trigger.’ For me, it is a trigger 24/7.”

Villanueva would have beloved to have used Navy decals, however that is a soccer rival.

“I am not going to achieve out to Navy soccer — on no account,” he stated.

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