The NFL’s blind support for leftist social justice causes was sure to backfire, and indeed it has.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wore helmet decals on “Monday Night Football” this week that honored a black Pittsburgh-area teenager who was shot and killed by police two years ago.
Antwon Rose Jr. died after being shot in the back by a white officer in 2018, but the situation was much more complex than that — and the team decals seemed an implicit disavowal of the law enforcement officer who fired at Rose.
One player now says he “inadvertently supported” the cause to honor Rose.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey posted about the decal Thursday on Instagram.
He explained he was “given limited information” about the shooting and said, “I want to make sure [the police] understand I inadvertently supported a cause of which I did not fully comprehend the entire background of the case.”
The 31-year-old from Florida said he was “unaware of the whole story surrounding [Rose’s] death and what transpired during the trial following the tragedy.”
“I take responsibility for not doing more investigating into something that is sensitive to the community and [the Rose family],” he said, adding, “Moving forward, I will make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet.”
Pouncey made it clear he is “against racism” and concluded, “My focus will continue to be on helping the police in our communities.”
The Steelers issued a statement prior to Monday’s game against the New York Giants notifying fans and the media that the team would honor the teen with helmet decals for the entirety of the 2020 season.
“This year the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals to honor victims of systemic racism,” the team said. “Players could select the name of an individual to wear on their helmet and the Steelers players and coaches united as one to wear a single name on the back of their helmets and hats for the entire 2020 season — Antwon Rose Jr.”
The Steelers added, “On the night of June 19, 2018, the car Antwon Rose Jr., who is black, was a passenger in was pulled over by the East Pittsburgh Police. While the driver was being handcuffed on suspicion of being involved in an incident that happened earlier that evening, a frightened Rose fled from the car.
“The cell phone video a bystander captured showed Rose running, and then you could hear gunshots and see as he was fatally shot in the back three times by a white East Pittsburgh Police Officer.”
Every Steeler but one displayed the Rose decal Monday.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva — a former Army Ranger — broke from his teammates and opted to honor Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, who was killed in a 2005 firefight with terrorists in Iraq.
Villanueva covered up the Rose decal with the name of Cashe without explanation.
Steelers LT Alejandro Villanueva has the name Alwyn Cashe on the back of his helmet
Cashe was posthumousky awarded the Silver Star for heroism after his death at 35 while on duty in Iraqhttps://t.co/a4Pbp3UERU had said ALL players’ helmets would have Antwon Rose Jr’s name pic.twitter.com/UMqbxVo6mj
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 14, 2020
The Steelers left out of their statement that Rose was a passenger in a car that was suspected of being involved in a drive-by shooting just moments before it was pulled over. The drive-by left two people wounded.
Rose allegedly was attempting to flee the scene when he was shot in the back by Officer Michael Rosfeld.
Such a shooting is justified in Pennsylvania if the officer believes such force is necessary “to prevent death or serious injury to themselves or others, or if they believe it necessary to prevent a suspect’s escape from arrest,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported when covering Rosfeld’s murder trial.
Rosfeld was acquitted by a jury with three black members.
Zaijuan Hester, 18, an alleged accomplice of Rose’s, was later convicted on charges stemming from the drive-by, The Associated Press reported.
The Steelers left out the details surrounding Rose’s death when explaining the decision to honor him to fans and the media before the game.
Apparently team officials also neglected to discuss that information with players, as the Steelers’ supposedly “united” effort to honor the 17-year-old has seen two offensive linemen publicly jump ship from the cause.
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