Sports | September 25, 2017 1:25 pm

Alejandro Villanueva Gear Becomes NFL Top-Seller Overnight

The former Army Ranger’s rise is 'unprecedented.'

Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the team's tunnel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served terms in Afghanistan, was the lone Steeler to appear during the anthem. The Bears won 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the team's tunnel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served terms in Afghanistan, was the lone Steeler to appear during the anthem. The Bears won 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Alejandro Villanueva, a U.S. army veteran and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive lineman, beat out Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Derek Car to become the best-selling NFL player in the league on Monday, ESPN reports.

Orders for Villanueva’s gear, including jerseys and number t-shirts, poured in after Villanueva became the lone Steeler to come outside of the tunnel to stand, hand on heart, during the national anthem on Sunday. The rest of the Steelers remained in the locker room for the duration of the song.

When then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling to protest police brutality against African Americans, Villanueva had this to say:

“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year … when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year,” Villanueva reportedly told ESPN last year.

ESPN notes that it’s “unprecedented” to see an offensive lineman’s sales spike at the top for any period — but there’s at least one person who isn’t happy with Villanueva’s decision.

“I was looking for 100 percent participation. We were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin reportedly said.

In addition to the Steelers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans decided to stay in the locker room for the anthem on Sunday. Approximately 180 players in the league chose not to stand in response to President Trump’s divisive comments about the league.