- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva gained attention last season when he stood by himself for the national anthem while the rest of the team stayed back in the locker room.
- The incident led to a rise in jersey sales, making Villanueva the 30th most popular jersey in the NFL.
- Villanueva took the money from the royalty check and sent it to various charities across the northeast, from schools to first-responders and team charities.
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva gained attention last season when he inadvertently stood by himself for the national anthem while the rest of the team stayed back in the locker room. The incident occurred following President Donald Trump’s attacks on the NFL and widespread protesting by players and teams in response to his comments.
Villanueva said he was “embarrassed” by the incident afterward, saying he did not mean to stand by himself.
Nonetheless, Villanueva, an Army veteran, became a hero to some, leading to a spike in jersey sales.
According to USA Today’s Mike Jones, Villanueva finished 30th in jersey sales but decided to put the royalty money to good use. Jones reported that Villanueva took the money and donated it charities in cities from the AFC North division – Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
Villanueva’s money went to several places. For instance, he reportedly donated money to Baltimore-area police and first-responders. He sent money to Bengals’ defensive end Michael Johnson’s charity because he respects Johnson. He also sent money to various school systems.
According to Jones, Villanueva didn’t have a close relationship with anyone on the Browns, so he sent $US7,000 with a note reading: “Here’s a check for your foundation. Good luck this year on all but two games. Haha, Al Villanueva.”
According to Jones, Villanueva declined to comment or reveal how much money he donated. He sent money to over 20 different organisations.
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