When the Steelers announced that every player and coach would wear the name of Antwon Rose this season, they said that “Steelers players and coaches united as one” to make that decision. Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick says the decision actually came from management, not players.
The decision to honor Rose was revealed in Week One not to be unanimous because Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva didn’t participate, instead wearing the name of Iraq War hero Alwyn Cashe. Then Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey revealed that he regretted going along with the decision to honor Rose without doing more research. And now Fitzpatrick says he wasn’t in on the decision to honor Rose, either.
“It was mostly made from people upstairs and everything else like that,” Fitzpatrick said, via ESPN. “Don’t know exactly who. Don’t know exactly how. But we did. We knew that we were going to have somebody on the back of our helmets, and it wasn’t exactly clear on what it was going to be. It was mostly made by everyone upstairs.”
Rose, a 17-year-old black boy, was shot in the back and killed by a white police officer after running away when the car he was riding in was stopped as part of an investigation into a drive-by shooting. A jury of nine white jurors and three black jurors found the officer not guilty at trial.
It is unclear how many players will continue honoring Rose going forward, but it is clear that the Steelers erred in portraying the decision to honor Rose as a team-wide decision, when some players are not on board.