Former ESPN talker Jemele Hill slammed Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva for breaking with his team, and placing the name of a fallen American soldier on his helmet instead of the social justice message the rest of the team had agreed to wear.
Ahead of Monday’s game against the New York Giants, Villanueva was seen with the name of Silver Star winner and U.S. Army Sgt. Alwyn Cashe on the back of his helmet instead of the name of Antwon Rose II, a 17-year-old East Pittsburgh resident who died in a police-involved shooting in 2018.
The team had decided ahead of time to honor Rose on their helmets, something that Villanueva obviously did not support. Hill was triggered by Villanueva’s departure from the team’s agreed upon approach.
Hill took Villanueva to task Wednesday morning.
“No problem with Cashe being honored, but it’s telling that Villanueva went against a team decision to do this. Did he tell his teammates beforehand? Seems like he purposely put them in a bad position because he never agreed with the cause to begin with,” she tweeted along with a message from Pro Football Talk pointing out Villanueva’s actions.
No problem with Cashe being honored, but it’s telling that Villanueva went against a team decision to do this. Did he tell his teammates beforehand? Seems like he purposely put them in a bad position because he never agreed with the cause to begin with. https://t.co/kXprlD8Hk5
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 16, 2020
In another tweet Hill attacked Villanueva for picking the wrong week to make his statement.
“I’m confused as to how unity and being against police violence is somehow contrary. He also didn’t tell his teammates beforehand and sorry, that comes off like there’s an issue. He could have picked any time to make this statement, so why pick this week with this theme?” she wrote.
I’m confused as to how unity and being against police violence is somehow contrary. He also didn’t tell his teammates beforehand and sorry, that comes off like there’s an issue. He could have picked any time to make this statement, so why pick this week with this theme? https://t.co/2PN8pLrhmx
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 16, 2020
Very few people agreed with Hill’s point of view, and they scolded her on Twitter for her attack.
Soon, Hill began trying to explain her position.
The Atlantic writer told one Twitter user that Villanueva was wrong because he went against a team decision.
“This has nothing to do with an oath. They decided this as a team, and apparently he didn’t agree, so he did this on his own. That’s not teamwork and it’s leaving your teammates out to dry,” she wrote.
In another reply she persisted with her claim that the player somehow violated his team’s trust.
“It’s an issue if you make a decision as a team and someone decides to go outside of that. All teams made TEAM decisions. Why would you choose this moment to make this statement? It seems very intentional and not in a good way,” Hill said.
In still another tweet she said, “The issue I have isn’t with disagreement, it’s with him going against his team. Every team made a decision about what to do as a team to prevent things like this. He blindsided his teammates, which wasn’t cool.”
In one tweet she insisted, “Many of you are saying that Alejandro Villanueva has a right to his opinion. But if the theme of week 1 is unity and honoring those who have been victimized by police violence, then please explain to me what exactly is the other side?”
Hill pressed on with her “other side” theme. In one reply to a tweet she wrote, “But I’m not talking about the flag. Players were allowed to do with that as they pleased. The decals were a team decision. So again, what’s the other side?”
In another reply Hill insisted that this issue with Villanueva was nothing like taking a knee during the national anthem.
Hill has always been one of those leftist sports commentators who have excoriated people for saying players should “shut up and play.” But now, she is the one standing against a player who indulged his free speech. Clearly, Hill is fine with players speaking out about their causes, as long as those causes fit her left-wing agenda.
Still, even Hill’s point that Villanueva was a bad guy for going against his team was neutralized when news broke that Villanueva had asked his coach ahead of time to break from the team’s social justice message, and coach Mike Tomlin said he was supportive of the decision.
If Villanueva’s decision to honor Sgt. Alwyn Cashe was OK with his own head coach, why isn’t it OK to Jemele Hill?
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