Minkah Fitzpatrick: Steelers Players Weren't Clear Who Would be on Their Helmets
PITTSBURGH -- To say Minkah Fitzpatrick was uncomfortable while discussing the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to wear Antwon Rose Jr.'s name on the back of their helmet is an understatement.
During a Zoom call with media on Thursday, Fitzpatrick was asked about the team's decision to wear Rose's name. Rose was a 17-year-old who was fatally shot by an East Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop in suspicion of an incident that occurred earlier that day.
Fitzpatrick said the decision to remember Rose by wearing his name came from "upstairs," referring to Steelers' front office staff.
"Don't know exactly who. Don't know exactly how," Fitzpatrick said. "We knew we were going to have someone on the back of our helmets, but we didn't know exactly clear on what it was going to be."
The Steelers made headlines following their Monday night game after a photo of tackle Alejandro Villanueva began circulating.
Instead of Rose's name, Villanueva replaced the sticker on the back of his helmet with his own tape and wrote the name Alwyn Cashe. Cashe is a Silver Star recipient who passed away in 2005 after running back into a burning vehicle to save his fellow soldiers in Iraq.
Fitzpatrick said he's not worried about players making their own statements during games, nor does he expect it to burden the team's chemistry.
"I don't think there's any cohesion issues. We're all grown men. We all have one goal and that's to win a Super Bowl, and we're able to put all that little stuff to the side," Fitzpatrick said. "It does mean a lot to pretty much all of us in the locker room, but we're going to put our opinions to the side. We're going to go out there. We're going to have our conversations and our talks in the locker room but when we go out on the field, we're going to take the field, put our opinions and our feeling and everything else to the side, and be grown men about the situation.
"We all come from different places, different backgrounds, but when we're out on the field we all have the same goal. We all have the same mindset and that's to win the game at hand."
Fitzpatrick said the team hasn't talked about their plans surrounding social justice statements moving forward.