Rep. Palazzo: MS NFL player 'hero' for standing during national anthem

Rep. Palazzo: MS NFL player 'hero' for standing during national anthem

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo praised a Mississippi-born NFL player on Facebook for his actions during the National Anthem on Sunday.

"Yesterday the Pittsburgh Steelers all decided not to come out of the locker room for the National Anthem, except for one player," Palazzo wrote. "His name is Alejandro Villanueva and he was born in Meridian, Mississippi at the Naval Air Station. He played for the Army West Point Black Knights football team. He was a Captain in the United States Army. He served three tours of duty in Afghanistan."

Several players around the league took a knee in protest during the playing of the National Anthem on Sunday after President Donald Trump made comments condemning the disrespect NFL players were showing the flag and the country, even suggesting that players that refused to stand should be fired.

Pittsburgh announced that its players would not be taking the field for the anthem before Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, but Villanueva stepped out of the tunnel as the lone Steeler and stood with his hand over his heart as the anthem played.

"That's what a real football player and an American hero looks like — standing proudly with his hand over his heart for our National Anthem," Palazzo wrote.

Palazzo, who has been the U.S. Representative for Mississippi's 4th congressional district since 2011, formerly served in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve and currently serves in the the Mississippi Army National Guard.