Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva is in the news this week after he chose to cover the name of police shooting victim Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of his helmet during Pittsburgh’s game against the Giants on Monday.
In his place, he put the name Alwyn Cashe, a veteran who died during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2005.
As the NFL has allowed players to wear helmet decals honoring the victims of systemic racism, the Steelers decided as a team to honor Rose — a Black teenager shot in the back by a white police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018. That officer was charged with murder, but was found not guilty.
Villanueva decided to break from the team and replace Rose’s name with Cashe’s, a Sgt. 1st Class who died after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq.
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.”