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Others called the Steelers a 'disgrace' for not taking part with Villanueva, despite their move to stay out of sight to remain out of the protest narrative.
Teammates said on Sunday that they respected Villanueva's decision.
Linebacker James Harrison told Penn Live that everyone was involved in the pregame plan to remain out of sight of the crowd.'We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously,' Harrison said.
'But I guess we weren't.'Villanueva has previously said he supported players' frustration over racial injustice, but he didn't want to overlook the anthem because of his time in the military, where he earned a bronze star for valor during his tours overseas.
When Alejandro Villanueva was 15 years old, he attended a US Military-funded high school in Casteau, Belgium.
Villanueva later graduated from West Point, where he also played football.
The one displayed by Mr Bush was indeed returned, along with all other art lent to him, as his presidency came to an end.
But when we come out of locker rooms, we come out of locker rooms to play football games.'Villanueva was a key member of the team's protest planning ahead of Sunday's game, a source told ESPN.
Before the game, Tomlin said the team would not stand on the sidelines for the anthem as they usually did.
'I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 per cent participation or we do nothing,' Tomlin said.
Before the game, Tomlin had told CBS Sports that the team would not stand on the sidelines for the anthem as they usually did.
He said the team held a meeting and decided not to come out of the locker room for the anthem.