Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey honored a fallen police officer on the back of his helmet during Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
Pouncey made headlines last week when he broke with his teammates, who had agreed to honor 17-year-old Antwon Rose. Jr. on their helmets throughout the 2020 season.
Rose was killed after being shot in the back by a police officer during a 2018 traffic stop in which he was a passenger in a car involved in an earlier drive-by shooting.
Rose reportedly attempted to flee the scene, and two people were wounded by the drive-by.
The officer who shot Rose was later acquitted in court on murder charges, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Pouncey said after wearing the teen’s name on “Monday Night Football” against the New York Giants that he had “inadvertently supported” the cause to honor Rose, and did so because he was given “limited information” about the case.
“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.”
— 🗣️dubvLIVE.com🇺🇲➡️🌎🔊 (@dubvNOW) September 20, 2020
Pouncey is not the only player on the Steelers to break from honoring Rose through helmet decals being promoted by the NFL to champion political and social justice causes during games.
Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva honored a fallen soldier named Alwyn Cashe for the second game in a row with his helmet decal, WTAE-TV reported.
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
Villanueva, a special forces veteran, has not commented on why he has chosen to honor Cashe instead of Rose.
The Steelers commented on the decision to honor Rose in a statement before kickoff at last week’s game against the Giants.
“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 noted that Rose was black and that he was “fatally shot in the back three times by a white East Pittsburgh Police Officer.”
The team left out any information about Rose’s potential connection to the earlier drive-by shooting.
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