Cam Heyward, Ben Roethlisberger Surprised Alejandro Villanueva Did Not Honor Antwon Rose Jr.

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- All but one member of the Pittsburgh Steelers took the field at MetLife Stadium wearing the name Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets. 

As the Steelers displayed the late Rose's name in remembrance of the 17-year-old who was fatally shot by an East Pittsburgh police officer in 2018, tackle Alejandro Villanueva wrote a different name on his helmet. 

Villanueva covered Rose's name with his own tape and wrote Alwyn Cashe's name instead. 

Cashe, who was black, passed away in 2005 while overseas in Samarra, Iraq. According to the Military Times, Cashe was involved in an explosion when his vehicle drove by an improvised explosive device detonated. 

Cashe died three weeks after the incident from second and third-degree burns after he went back into the vehicle to try and save fellow soldiers. He was awarded the Silver Star for heroism. 

Head coach Mike Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference that he was aware Villanueva would wear a different name on his helmet. 

"It's in line with everything that we said about participating in elements of social justice this offseason," Tomlin said. "As an organization, and myself as the head coach of the organization, we're going to support our players in however they choose to participate and express themselves, or to not participate and not express themselves. As long as they do so thoughtfully and with class."

His teammates weren't aware of the change, though. 

Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward both said that they didn't know Villanueva would display a different name from the rest of the team.

"I did not know about Al's choice for the back of his helmet," Roethlisberger said. "That's his choice and that's the amazing thing about the country we live in."

Heyward said he was surprised by Villanueva's decision to represent Cashe. According to Heyward, the team discussed their intentions on Wednesday, looking to stand united as they showed solidarity against racism. 

"We were working on something that didn't have to be politicized," Heyward said. "We wanted to be straight forward and let you know, we're against racism and we want to end racism. We have a lot of things going on in our world that support that. We have to grow not only as a team but as a community to eradicate that and grow.

"I was unaware of it. We discussed it before. That's for him to comment on in the future. I'm not going to sit up here and speak for him. He's his own man and we'll move forward."

Villenueva's decision not to represent Rose received a negative response from Rose's mother, Michelle Kenney.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote. Obviously, one person didn't like the results, so they chose to do something different," Kenney wrote.

Heyward said he remains supportive of Kenney and her efforts throughout the city, and acknowledged that there were flaws in their efforts to show that support.

"We chose this first game to represent her son. We chose to support her son and if she wants to make the community close, that's what we've got to do," Heyward said. "Was it perfect at the end of the day? No. But as a collective unit, we wanted to support her and her family and draw awareness."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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Comments (25)
No. 1-13
KarenMae
KarenMae

Tell me why, honoring our brave soldiers and Tebow honoring our God and pink for a player's mother who died of breast cancer was not allowed, but honoring a questionable person was allowed?????

DrEviler
DrEviler

Noah's a hack. Cashe is actually up for the Medal of Honor. He makes it sound like he was cruising around the middle east on a vacation.

beardedcap
beardedcap

He supported a fucking hero, just like he was a hero himself who served in the god damn Army while the people attacking him for this have never done a god damn thing but play with a fucking ball. They all had the names of a fucking drive by shooter on their helmets.

TheTruthIsNow
TheTruthIsNow

They chose to support a young boy who was involved in a drive-by shooting, and who perhaps pointed a gun with the intent to shoot and harm or kill a police officer.
Instead of displaying the name of a child, a woman, a man of color, who was killed by another person of color. But no. That does not fit this BS narrative that the media and the democrats are pushing.
Complete utter BS.
Steelers should be ashamed of themselves for what they did.
Just like the rest of the NFL teams who wear the names of thugs on their helmets.
What in the hell is going on with this country?
This place which has made it possible for all the colored players of sports and entertainment with becoming millionaires, to turn on the ones who have made them famous.
You all are nothing more than a bad joke that will soon laugh back at you.

Spenser
Spenser

When does a ground man require the permission of two other consenting adults to follow his conscience? I liked sports reporters better when they reported on the game. Antonio Brown getting fined for performing TD air sex in the end zone had more to do with the game. Al's a left tackle, not a politician.

Spenser
Spenser

Should any grown man require the permission of two other adults before following his conscience? Maybe we could name a submarine after after Mr. Rose - and sports reporters can go back to covering the game.

Delta1sgt
Delta1sgt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

Mr Villanueva and others have fought, served, and some have died defending the constitutional rights for all. Mr Villanueva chose to represent a man of honor, courage and dedication to his fellow soldiers...even to the point of sacrificing his own life for theirs. The point should be argued as to why the other players didn’t do the same!

70sfan
70sfan

Noah Strackbein: Why did u write this article? Why r u trying to sow division within the Steelers by resorting to these grade school antics. Big Al has earned the right to honor an African American war hero who fought valiantly and made the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow soldiers and this country. Al Villanueva is a West Point graduate and former soldier. It is perfectly understandable why he would opt to highlight the life and sacrifice of SGT Alwyn Cashe, who earned the Silver Star Medal while saving fellow soldiers following a roadside bombing in Iraq that ultimately resulted in his death.

His decision to honor SGT Cache instead of Antwon Rose Jr. does not mean he does not have empathy for the Rose family or concern for racial justice issues in this country. It is a reflection of Big Al’s life experience and the quality of the men he served with in combat.

Please, leave it alone!

Mimi63
Mimi63

You have to stand up for what you feel is right. Villanueva did that for whatever reason he had. Villanueva is a hero himself. If I had a helmet I would put his name on it. Rose was a criminal. In this instance he had a gun under his seat and an empty clip in his pocket. Putting his name on their helmet is not about racism it’s about the lies about police brutality against the black community to fit the current main stream media/democratic narrative before the election. They are trying to attack the church the police and the military. These are the top three most trusted institutions at this time according to a gallop poll I believe it was. Breonna Taylor was also a criminal, into drug dealing and holding money for the drug dealers. A homicide victim was found in a car she rented. He apparently was the brother of one of the drug dealing associates. She was not allowed to work for the city and does not appear to of been an EMT because of this apparently. Check out Brandon Tatum’s site on YouTube and his website he’s got documents.

TruthBeTol d
TruthBeTol d

In America you can honor hero's or thugs. Villanueva chose a hero. What?

SugarLandSooner
SugarLandSooner

and this numbnut puts this out as if honoring a fallen silver star recipient was a bad thing. great "article" hoser..

BlisterBob
BlisterBob

How many helmets would be required to list the shooting victims just this weekend her in Chicago? They all have moms, too.

Leehigh1
Leehigh1

So these people think its wrong to honor a fallen hero? Asking for a friend.


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