Because we live in America, everyone has the right to express themselves on important issues as they see fit.

For some NFL players, that meant taking a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. For others, linking arms was the way to go.

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided as a team to skip the anthem as a form of protest. Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and plays offensive line for the Steelers, wanted to support his teammates but also do what he felt was right for the anthem.

Therefore, in a powerful statement of compromise, he stood in the tunnel with his hand over his heart during the anthem — showing support for his teammates by not taking the field, but also doing what he felt was best during the anthem:

As anthem protests continue around the NFL this weekend, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

Villanueva will certainly be asked about why he did what he did, and based on what we know about the talented lineman and Army veteran, his answer is sure to be a thoughtful and poignant one.