Players held a giant banner that read, “Steelers Against Racism,” on the sideline during the anthem. Several players raised their fists, too.
The move was one of many across the league that players and coaches have made this weekend, though was by far among the most unified. Some teams, including the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins, opted not to take the field during the national anthem in protest. Other teams had certain players or coaches kneel, lock arms, raise fists or more.
Multiple Steelers players posted to social media earlier on Monday holding a white piece of paper with their hometown printed on it. The captions were all similar to “make a stand against all racism,” though differed slightly to bring attention to specific incidents in their respective cities.
Steelers honoring Antwon Rose Jr.
The Steelers decided to honor a single person on the back of their helmets this season — something the league is allowing for the first time this year in the wake of massive social justice protests in the country in recent months.
The team announced on Monday that they will wear Antwon Rose Jr.’s name on the back of their helmets all season long, honoring the Black 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer in the Pittsburgh area in 2018.
We don’t want him to be forgotten.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2020
For the 2020 season, we unite as one and will wear a single name on the back of our helmets – Antwon Rose Jr.https://t.co/Li8ovGgKa7
Rose and two others were pulled over by Michael Rosfeld, a white Pittsburgh-area police officer, in June 2018. As Rosfeld put handcuffs on the driver of the car, according to The New York Times, Rose and another passenger jumped out of the car and ran. Rosfeld shot Rose, who was unarmed, three times in the face, elbow and back. Rose later died.
Video of the incident quickly spread on social media, leading to days of protests. Rosfeld was charged with criminal homicide, however was acquitted of all charges last year. Rose’s family settled a $2 million lawsuit with the city last fall.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called Rose’s mom, Michelle Kenney, last week to inform her of the team’s plan to honor her son this season.
“I can’t explain it,” Kenney said, via Steelers.com. “It was indescribable. It’s my son. And not only is one person on the team going to wear his name on their helmet. They took a vote, and the entire team is going to wear his name on their helmets. How do you even make sense of that? I wish I could give you some adjective to explain, but I can’t do anything but cry. I can’t do anything but cry.”
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