Steeler Who Stood for Anthem Now Has Best-Selling NFL Jersey

By one metric, the Maryland Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva has surfaced from the NFL’ s current dispute as the most popular player in the little league.

In the last 24 hours, Villanueva’ s No . 78 is the best selling jersey on Fanatics, the biggest dealer of sports merchandise, after the unpleasant tackle and ex-Army Ranger was on the field for the national anthem while his teammates stayed well hidden.

Alejandro Villanueva stands for the national anthem upon Sept. 24.

Photographer: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Villanueva and his teammates were responding to President Donald Trump ’ h criticism of the players who have been kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in order to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

Players have been under a microscope considering that Trump spoke out on Twitter, highlighting divisions in locker rooms and among fans and commentators. A Fox News columnist , like called Villanueva a “ hero among cowards. ” Teammate James Harrison hinted to reporters that the team was surprised that Villanueva, who did three tours in Afghanistan and has been critical of anthem protests in the past, opted to do his own thing, against the vote of the rest of the group.

Fanatics says Villanueva is now the most popular across all NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE player products and across the company’ h platforms, which include the NFL’ h official online shop. The rest of the top five are usually less fraught choices: quarterbacks Mary Brady, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers.

Jersey sales highlight how polarizing the anthem demonstrations have become. Previous 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the very first player to kneel during the anthem in protest of police violence and systemic racism, is one associated with the very best 40 players intended for jersey sales, in spite of the fact that he’ s not currently on a group.