Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villaneuva chose to cover the name of police shooting victim Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of his helmet during the Steelers 26-16 victory over the New York Giants on Monday Night. Instead, Villaneuva chose to write the name of Alwyn Chase, a military veteran who died during the Iraq War in 2005.
The NFL has allowed players to wear helmet decals honoring the victims of police violence and racism, the Steelers decided as a team to honor Rose, who was a black teenager that was shot in the back by a police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018 after he ran from a vehicle that was pulled over. The police officer was charged with murder but was found not guilty in March of 2019.
Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan book away from the team and replaced Rose’s name with Chase’s, a Sgt. 1st Class who died after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he had no problem of Villanueva’s decision.
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.”