Watch as he explains how they collectively “butchered” their plan for what was supposed to happen. It sounds like the idea was for him to join the captains at the front of the pack in the tunnel for the anthem, yet he somehow ended up a few feet ahead of the rest and then the anthem started and no one wanted to move. That helps explain this odd photo from yesterday, with the Steelers just 50 feet or so behind Villanueva:

He’s highly apologetic for the misunderstanding starting at around 3:30 of the clip below, especially towards Mike Tomlin, who’s under fire for complaining that he expected 100 percent team participation in the plan not to come out for the anthem.

I never planned to boycott the team’s plan, he says. I got out in front of the procession unintentionally. He must be telling the truth: It’s impossible to believe a Ranger would let the Steelers front office bully him into denying an act of patriotism after the fact just because it made the rest of the team look bad.

His jersey’s the top seller in the NFL online store as I write this.