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Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva covers the name of the police officer who shoots the victim on the helmet with the name of a military veteran



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USATSI

Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva chose to cover the name of the police officer who shot the victim Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of his helmet during Pittsburgh̵

7;s game against the Giants on Monday. Villanueva chose instead to write the name Alwyn Cashe, a veteran who died during the US invasion of Iraq in 2005.

As the NFL has allowed players to wear helmet transfer badges in honor of the victims of systemic racism, the Steelers as a team decided to honor Rose – a black teenager shot in the back by a white police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018 after running from a vehicle there was pulled over – all season. The now former East Pittsburgh officer was charged with murder, but a jury found him not guilty in March 2019.

Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three trips in Afghanistan, decided to break away from the team and replace Rose’s name with Cashe, a Sgt. 1st class who died after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he approved of his player’s decision.

“As an organization, and myself as the head coach of the organization, we will support our players, whether they chose to participate and express themselves or not participate or not express themselves, as long as they do so thoughtfully and with class,” Tomlin said Tuesday. during a press conference. Tomlin added that Villanueva’s choice did not justify an explanation.

This is not the first time the veteran lineman has publicly broken away from a team’s alleged overall decision for his own reasons. At the start of the 2017 season, he was the only Steelers player to leave the locker room and stand for the national anthem after Tomlin said the team would be left behind to avoid making a statement – “No matter what we do, we must do 100 percent. We must do it together. ”

Villanueva apologized for his decision to stand alone, saying he felt “embarrassed” because it made “the organization look bad, my coach look bad, and my teammates look bad.”




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