PITTSBURGH (WFLA) — A Pittsburgh Steelers player broke from his team’s decision to honor Antwon Rose Jr., a “victim of systemic racism,” when he replaced the decal on the back of his helmet with fallen Iraq war hero Alwyn Cashe.
Amid the national outcry over racial injustice, the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals “to honor victims of systemic racism.” The Steelers organization announced Monday that their team would collectively honor Antwon Rose Jr. on a decal on theirs.
Rose was shot and killed as he fled a traffic stop in East Pittsburgh in 2017. He was 17 years old. The officer was charged with homicide but acquitted on all counts.
Villanueva decided to break from the team’s decision Monday night and honor another name — Alwyn Cashe. Cashe, a Florida native, suffered fatal burns in 2005 trying to rescue fellow soldiers from an explosion while on patrol in Iraq. He was 35 years old.
Villanueva, who was deployed to Afghanistan three times, became the hottest jersey for a period in 2017 when he was the only player on his team to come out of the locker room for the national anthem.
Teams around the NFL chose various responses to the anthem that week, as it was a couple days after President Donald Trump called a player who kneeled a “son of a bitch.”
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