The conclusion by Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva to pay the title on his helmet of a Black teenager killed by authorities in 2018 and replace it with that of a dropped Army hero before Monday night’s match against the New York Giants allegedly took his teammates by surprise.
The group announced Monday the players had decided to all use the title of Antwon Rose Jr. — a 17-year-old Black teenager who had been shot and murdered by a Pittsburgh police officer — on the back of their helmets to the whole 2020 season.
But throughout the match, Villanueva, a former priest at the U.S. Army who served three tours in Afghanistan and became an Army Ranger before joining the NFL in 2014, was spotted covering Rose’s name together with that of Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe.
“I was amazed by what Al did,” defensive tackle Cam Heyward said Wednesday, by ESPN. “You are going to have to speak to him in the long run, but in this nation, we are given the liberty to perform and encourage the ones that mean a great deal to us”
Cashe expired in 2005 after trying to rescue fellow soldiers from a burning automobile after a roadside bomb in Samarra, Iraq, on Oct. 17, according to the Military Times. He suffered second- and – third-degree burns over 70 percent of the body, finally succumbing to those harms on Nov. 5.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also stated that he had been unaware of Villanueva’s decision but said it was”his pick.”
“That is the wonderful thing about the nation we live in,” he explained. “Regrettably, it’s what it is.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin stated he talked to Villanueva concerning it, including he affirms how all of his players decide to express themselves.
“And that is by what we said about engaging in parts of social justice this offseason.”
He added: “As a company and myself as a head trainer of a company, we’re likely to encourage our players however they decide to engage and express themselves or not to participate or not express themselves, provided that they do this wholeheartedly and with course.”