U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, a Marine veteran, said Monday that the Steelers should have used “common sense and decency” and stood with their teammate, Alejandro Villanueva.
Nicholson, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin, served in the Marine Corps for five years and fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Steelers opted to stay in the tunnel during the anthem on Sunday, while Villanueva, a former Army ranger, was the only one on the team to exit the tunnel and stand for the anthem.
“So Anthony Villanueva comes out of the tunnel yesterday, a Ranger in Afghanistan who fought, and I’m sure saw his brothers and sisters in arms injured, sometimes killed, and salutes the flag,” conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said to Nicholson. “The rest of the Steelers stay inside. That’s kind of a symbol of the division in the country right now. What did you make of yesterday?
Nicholson said he would have felt like a “coward” if he were staying in the tunnel and wished the other Steelers had joined Villanueva.
“Boy, I’ll tell you, I try and put myself in the shoes of people at times and try and figure out what they’re thinking. And in this particular case, if I had been one of the Steelers sitting in the locker room and knew that my colleague, probably my friend was sitting on that tunnel by himself saluting the flag, and knew that he served his country in combat, I think that I’d feel like quite a coward sitting in that locker room by myself hiding away,” Nicholson asserted.
“And this is one of these moments where I think common sense and decency should have kicked in, and they should have come out and stood with him,” Nicholson concluded.