The NFL gave athletes the option to decide what victims of social injustice to pay tribute to on their uniforms. The Steelers have chosen to honor Antwon Rose Jr, a 17-year-old that was killed by a police officer.
We don’t want him to be forgotten.
For the 2020 season, we unite as one and will wear a single name on the back of our helmets – Antwon Rose Jr.https://t.co/Li8ovGgKa7
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2020
Michelle Kenney, Rose’s mother, said she was overwhelmed with emotion when she got news of the Steelers’ decision last week from Coach Mike Tomlin.
“To 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”.
“Then to say we are going to support you. We want you to be involved in what we are doing. There are no words to describe that. I am just Antwon’s mom. This situation comes with a whole lot of pain. I mean a lot of pain.”
Rose died in June 2018 after being shot in the back by a white East Pittsburgh police officer as he fled the scene when a car in which he was riding was pulled over during an investigation into a drive-by shooting.
Two firearms were found in the vehicle, but Rose was unarmed when he was shot. Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with murder and found not guilty the following March.
Rose’s mother told a Steelers representative that her life has been a complete “whirlwind” since the loss of her son.
“There are so many mixed emotions. I realize at the end of the day, Antwon is gone,” she said. She then continued by saying:
“But the Steelers are taking a stand. They are trying to make change and they want to be involved. That means more to me than anything. There are kids out here that look up to these players. Kids who watch the Coach on television, they look like most of the kids I know. It’s important. It really is. I hope the players understand how important this is to these kids. Them wearing his name takes it to a whole other level. That is something so different. I am just grateful.
“To me, it’s not about Antwon. 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.”