PITTSBURGH — Instead of displaying Antwon Rose’s name on the back of his helmet like his teammates, Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva chose to honor a military veteran.
Villanueva’s helmet had the name Alwyn Cashe written on it during Monday night’s game against the New York Giants, Channel 11′s news exchange partners at TribLIVE reported.
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According to the Military Times, Cashe, who is Black, died at the age of 35 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Samarra, Iraq. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over 70% of his body when he ran back into the vehicle in attempt to rescue other soldiers who were trapped inside. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
Villanueva is a former Army Ranger who was awarded a Bronze Star.
During his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the issue.
“We’re going to support our players however they chose to participate and express themselves,” Tomlin said.
Ahead of Monday’s game, the Steelers announced the team would remember Antwon Rose Jr. by wearing helmet decals.
“This year the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals to honor victims of systemic racism. 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' website said.
Rose, 17, was shot and killed in 2018 by an East Pittsburgh police officer while running from a traffic stop.
Cox Media Group