Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey chose to wear a tribute to a fallen officer on his helmet during Sunday’s Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos. Pouncey’s tribute came after some Steelers players disagreed with last week’s helmet tribute.
In Sunday’s game, Pouncey wore Eric Kelly’s name on the back lower part of his helmet. Kelly was among three Pittsburgh police officers who were killed in a 2009 domestic incident in Stanton Heights.
The offensive lineman chose to honor Kelly after the team decided each player could pick who they wanted to pay tribute to. The move followed drama over the organization deciding to wear the name of Antwon Rose Jr. on their helmets during their Week 1 matchup.
In 2018, Pittsburgh police shot and killed Rose. Officers pulled over a car Rose was riding in. The car fit the description of the one that allegedly was seen in a drive-by shooting. Officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose as he and another passenger in the car ran from police. During the incident, Rosfeld shot Rose three times.
The police investigation later confirmed the drive-by vehicle. Additionally, the passenger pleaded guilty to opening fire during the drive-by. The officer was charged for shooting Rose. However, a jury acquitted Rosfeld at the end of a four-day trial.
The Steelers front office chose to honor Rose on the team’s helmet in Week 1. But, lineman Alejandro Villanueva broke from the team and wore the name of a fallen soldier instead.
Statement by Maurkice Pouncey on Team Helmet Tribute
Pouncey released a statement on the helmet tribute drama earlier in the week. In it, he said he should have done more research before deciding to wear Rose’s name on his helmet.
“I want to personally clarify what transpired this past Monday night in regard to having Antwon Rose’s name on the back of my helmet,” he wrote on Thursday in an Instagram post.
“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 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. I take responsibility for not doing more investigating into something that is sensitive to the community and his family, but it is a less learned as it relates to political issues that occur every day in our society.
“Moving forward, I will make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet. Make no mistake, I am against racism and I believe the best thing I can do is to continue helping repair relationships between the police and their communities. Systemic racism issues have occurred in our country for too long, and that needs to stop.
“My focus will continue to be on helping the police in our communities, and I will support making any necessary changes to help those efforts.”
[H/T FOX News]