Pittsburgh Steelers co-captain Maurkice Pouncey will no longer wear the name of slain teenager Antwon Rose on his football helmet.
He announced the decision on his Instagram page after learning more about the situation, including that 17-year-old Rose, who was unarmed when he was shot and killed while fleeing from police, had been riding in a vehicle that matched the description of one that was used in a drive-by shooting. Another teen who was riding in the vehicle with Rose later pleaded guilty to being the gunman in the drive-by shooting incident, which had taken place just minutes before the car was stopped by police.
The officer who shot Rose during the stop was tried for the teen’s death but acquitted by a jury.
Pouncey explained the decision on his Instagram page, writing:
I was given limited information on the situation regarding Antwon, and I was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death and what transpired during the trial following the tragedy. I should have done more research to fully understand what occurred in its entirety.
My work with the police, both in Pittsburgh and back home in Florida, is well documented. I don’t always feel the need to highlight what I do with the police departments, but I also want to make sure they understand I inadvertently supported a cause of which I did not fully comprehend the entire background of the case.
Despite breaking with his team by removing Rose’s name from his helmet, Pouncey said he is against racism and remains committed to helping repair relationships between the police and the community.
Pouncey wore the name of fallen police officer Eric Kelly during Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
The team previously announced that all players would wear Rose’s name on their helmet to help bring attention to the issue of police brutality and racial injustice, but that show of solidarity fell apart when lineman Al Villanueva broke ranks and instead chose to wear the name of Army Sergeant Alwyn Cashe, who was killed in action in Iraq. Villanueva himself is a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan.