Alejandro Villanueva Honors Silver Star Awardee on Helmet As Teammates Opt For Social Justice Message

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Steelers LT Alejandro Villanueva wore the name of Alwyn Cashe on his helmet during last night’s game against the Giants. As noted by Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cashe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his service in Iraq:

“Cashe wasn’t initially hurt when a roadside bomb exploded Oct. 17 next to his Bradley Fighting Vehicle while on patrol in Samara, Iraq, family members said,” The Associated Press wrote. “But he suffered second- and third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body when he ran back into the vehicle in an attempt to rescue other soldiers trapped inside, according to his family.”

Cashe died three weeks after the explosion, in November of 2005. He was 35 years old and was survived by his wife and daughter, who was 12 years old at the time.

On Monday, reported that every player on the Pittsburgh Steelers would “unite as one” and wear the name of Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets all season. The team web site described the night of Rose Jr.’s death:

On the night of June 19, 2018, the car Antwon Rose Jr., who is black, was a passenger in was pulled over by the East Pittsburgh Police. While the driver was being handcuffed on suspicion of being involved in an incident that happened earlier that evening, a frightened Rose fled from the car. The cell phone video a bystander captured showed Rose running, and then you could hear gunshots and see as he was fatally shot in the back three times by a white East Pittsburgh Police Officer.

Villanueva played college football at Army, served as a captain in the military, and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

This is the second time Villanueva has removed himself from a team protest. Before a game in 2017, Villanueva stood outside the Steelers tunnel for the national anthem while the rest of the team remained in the locker room.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. “Zaijuan Hester, 18, was sentenced Monday on earlier guilty pleas to aggravated assault and firearms crimes in the June 2018 shooting in North Braddock.”

    Hester was the driver of the car that Antwon Rose ran from. Hester was sentenced 6-22 years for his part in the drive by shooting. The cops had the correct vehicle. Yet, the Steelers, Mike Tomlin, and the Rooney family, choose to glorify this young man. Perhaps the name of the drive by shooting victims would be more appropriate.

    Time for Villanueva to take his millions and leave the NFL and enjoy a life well lived.

    • Hester was the third occupant. Rose tested positive for gunpowder residue on his hands, had an empty 9mm in his pocket when he was shot (because he emptied the magazine during the drive by). There was a second 9mm found in the car with Rose’s DNA, and a .40 caliber pistol with Hester’s DNA. One of the drive by victims also ID’d Rose as the person who shot him. Rose obtained one of the 9mm pistols by stealing it from his employer at gunpoint earlier that day. But sure, let’s honor him over the fallen Soldier who gave his life attempting to rescue his brothers… makes sense.

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