2017 Man of the Year: Alejandro Villanueva

Alejandro Villanueva
Alejandro Villanueva / Getty Images
December 29, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva holds the record for most Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year awards of all time.

He, along with every member of the United States military, has won the honor every year since 2012. However, Villanueva now has the distinction of being the only patriot on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Villanueva was the lone member of the team to present himself for the national anthem on September 24. While his teammates hid in the locker room in an effort to dodge the kneeling controversy that has seen prima donnas the world over refashion themselves as edgy intellectuals, Villanueva stood in the tunnel with his hand over his heart as fellow service members presented the colors.

His jersey quickly became the best selling in the league. Despite the positive reaction from fans, Villanueva greeted the episode with his trademark humility. He voiced embarrassment for attracting the media spotlight and apologized to his teammates for being such a sterling example of a human being that they all looked like spoiled, ingrate millennials by comparison.

The West Point graduate served three tours of duty in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger and with the prestigious 10th Mountain Division before walking onto the NFL undrafted in 2014. He won a Bronze Star after braving enemy fire to rescue wounded comrades during his first deployment. Facing down woke sportswriters, Twitter rage mobs, spoiled millionaires, and Hillary Clinton fundraiser Mike Tomlin probably didn't seem quite so intimidating.

For standing when so many others kneeled, we are happy to honor Alejandro Villanueva as a Free Beacon Man of the Year.

Published under: Men of the Year