The NFL is allowing players to put the names of victims of police shootings and racism on their helmets this season, and every Steelers player has chosen the same name to wear on their helmets all season long: Antwon Rose Jr.
Rose was a 17-year-old black boy who was fatally shot in the back by a white East Pittsburgh police officer while running away after the car he was a passenger in was pulled over as part of an investigation into a drive-by shooting. The officer, Michael Rosfeld, was charged with murder but found not guilty by a jury made up of nine white jurors and three black jurors.
Rose’s mom, Michelle Kenney, said she was honored to speak with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who informed her of the team’s decision.
“Being on the phone and hearing that the sports team right here in my city wants to represent my son and tell his story, there are no words for that,” Kenney told the Steelers’ website. “I wish I could give you something nice to write, but you can’t express that. You hear Mike Tomlin’s voice on television, and I am not saying he is a superhero, but you hear him on television. I am holding the phone and I know it’s him, but I just couldn’t believe the words I was hearing. o get a call, with Mike Tomlin on the phone, to tell me he has two sons and he worries too. He said the team took a vote and they decided to do it. He told me he understood. He told me he worries about his kids. My thought was if he is worried about his kids, then everybody has to worry.”