Maurkice Pouncey to Make His 'Own Decision' on What to Wear on Steelers Helmet

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey enters the field prior to a NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Santa Clara, CA. The Niners won 24-20. (Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini)
Daniel Gluskoter/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey indicated he could deviate from his team's decision to honor Antwon Rose Jr., a Black 17-year-old who was shot and killed while running from police in East Pittsbugh in June 2018.

The NFL allowed players to reference the victims of police brutality and systemic racism on the back of their helmets. The Steelers collectively chose Rose.

Pouncey wrote on Instagram he "was given limited information on the situation regarding Antwon, and I was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death an what transpired during the trial following the tragedy." He added he will "make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet."

Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva drew some criticism for instead putting the name of Alwyn Cashe on the back of his helmet. Cashe is a Black soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2005.

According to ESPN's Brooke Pryor, Villanueva told head coach Mike Tomlin of his intention but didn't inform his teammates. Cam Heyward said he "was surprised by what Al did."

In a since-deleted Facebook post, the mother of Rose, Michelle Kenney, was more direct in commenting on the matter:

"Let me very very very clear. The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote. Obviously one person didn't like the results so they chose to do something different. I have nothing against vets and absolutely appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do for us. But this one person showed us exactly who he is and obviously he didn't approve of how the vote turned out. In my opinion; that's for his coach, team and organization to address NOT ME!"

Rose was a passenger in a vehicle officers believed to be involved in an earlier shooting. He ran from the scene shortly authorities directed the driver to exit the car, and former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose three times.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Rose's death a homicide.

A jury found Rosfeld not guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in March 2019.