PITTSBURGH — Officials with the Pittsburgh Steelers announced Monday that players will wear the name of Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets to remember the 17-year-old two years after he was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer.
“We don’t want him to be forgotten,” the Steelers said in a post published Monday on Twitter.
Team coaches decided to put Rose’s name on players' helmets for the entirety of the season after the NFL allowed teams to wear helmet decals honoring victims of systemic racism, according to the Steelers.
“When you think about Antwon Rose’s story, we don’t want to ever let his legacy go away,” Cameron Heyward, defensive tackle for the Steelers and one of the team’s captains, said Monday in a news release. “That kid had a bright future and he was taken away too early. We see all of these things happening across our country now.”
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin called Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, last week to let her know about the team’s decision, according to WPXI. In a news release, Kenney called the honor “indescribable.”
“It’s my son,” she said. “And not only is one person on the team going to wear his name on their helmet. They took a vote, and the entire team is going to wear his name on their helmets. How do you even make sense of that? I wish I could give you some adjective to explain, but I can’t do anything but cry.”
Rose died in June 2018 after then-East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld shot him when he ran from a traffic stop. Authorities said Rosfeld pulled over the car Rose was in as part of an investigation into a drive-by shooting. Rose was unarmed when Rosfeld shot him in the back, arm and side of the face as he ran away, WPXI reported.
A jury acquitted Rosfeld of murder charges in Rose’s death last year.
“To me it’s not about Antwon,” Kenney said. “Antwon is gone and I couldn’t save him. But if I could collaborate with the Pittsburgh Steelers and save one life, I am grateful.”
The Steelers are slated to face off against the New York Giants on Monday night.
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