Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers made a big mistake when he stood in the tunnel by himself for the national anthem on Sunday. He is a former Army Ranger, and he has done tours overseas. However, he does not have the right to shirk his responsibilities to his team after the team made a decision about how to proceed Sunday. I want to talk about why his actions set a bad example for people around the country who think that this protest is about the flag.

They chose not to go out

The Steelers, as a team, were instructed to discuss the matter and decide what to do.

Mike Tomlin said that they could not come to a consensus because he wanted 100% participation, and the team stayed in the locker room. This is a fairly basic thing, and it should not be confusing at all. This also means that Villanueva had not right to go out in the tunnel. He instantly became an image of pride for people who are against the protest. The problem is that a man who was an Army Ranger could not follow a simple order. That sounds dangerous. Have you ever seen "A Few Good Men"? "We follow orders or people die," Jack Nicholson famously says. No one was going to die if this guy stood in the tunnel, but it set a bad example.

He apologized

Villanueva apologized to his teammates for making them look bad, and he should have.

It will probably be hard to trust him if he cannot do simple things like sit in the locker room, and it is going to be hard to listen to his side of the story when he thinks that he is allowed to do whatever he wants when the protest specifically is targeting privileged people who do not understand their privilege. Hopefully, the Steelers can move on from this because they are supposed to be a good team this year, but there is a stench in the air now because this man has been held up as some kind of hero when he really expressed no integrity doing what he did.

He was wrong.

Toxic masculinity

The notion of toxic masculinity comes up because people have said that Villanueva can do whatever he wants because he is an Army Ranger. He is perceived as tough and brave, and that lets him do whatever he wants. However, if he were a kindergarten teacher, no one would be saying that. If you have never been in a kindergarten classroom before, I can assure you that you have to be an extremely tough person to survive one day much less a whole school year.

Learn the issues

The issues stare us in the face every day. Social justice for people of color is important. Can we act like it is important?