In a not-so-surprising turn of events, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva wrote the name “Alwyn Cashe” on his helmet on Monday night. The rest of the team had “Antwon Rose Jr.” on their helmets.
The Steelers, like many NFL teams, were recognizing victims of color that have been killed by the police. The NFL is allowing teams to wear helmet decals for the entire 2020 season, honoring those who have been killed. The Steelers decided as a team to honor Rose, a black teenager who was shot in the back by a white police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018 after he ran from a vehicle that was pulled over. A former East Pittsburgh officer was charged with Rose’s murder, but a jury found him not guilty in March 2019.
Villanueva covered up Rose’s name and hand wrote Cashe’s name on the back of his helmet. Alwyn Cashe was an African-American soldier who died trying to save his fellow soldiers who were burning to death after an IED attack in Iraq in 2005.
Cashe, an NCO in the 3rd Infantry Division, was on a combat patrol on October 17, 2005, in Samarra, Iraq, when a roadside bomb detonated near the Bradley fighting vehicle carrying him and his fellow soldiers. Despite being on fire himself, Cashe repeatedly returned to the burning vehicle to rescue burning soldiers.