Steelers lineman Maurkice Pouncey issued a statement to clarify his position on having Antwon Rose’s name on the back of his helmet during Monday night’s game against the New York Giants.
“I was given limited information on the situation regarding Antwon, and I was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death and what transpired during the trial following the tragedy.” The Steelers organization chose to wear Rose’s name on the back of their helmets as part of the NFL’s social justice initiative. Outkick’s Jason Whitlock addressed what Pouncey might not have been told by the Steelers organization.
I'm not advocating for anything. I'm providing facts and context. I believe 30 minutes before encountering police, Rose was the triggerman in a drive-by shooting. The police were trying to arrest him for the shooting when he fled. It's context. https://t.co/R9xsRWdYP3
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 16, 2020
Here’s how the Steelers website described the Rose situation:
“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, Teresa Varley wrote on Steelers.com. “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.”
The Steelers failed to mention deeper details surrounding the case such as the victim in the drive-by “incident” told investigators it was Rose who shot at him. “The beef was between me and him, that car came by, he shot me, I ran to the store,” William Ross told investigators referencing Rose. Police also found a 9-millimeter handgun magazine in Rose’s pocket. A loaded 9-millimeter Glock was found under the seat with 16-rounds in a 17-round magazine. Police also stated gunshot residue was found on Rose’s hands.
Officer Michael Rosfeld was handcuffing the driver — later determined to be a jitney (unlicensed cabbie) — when Rose and Zaijuan Hester, who was in the backseat and used a .40-caliber Glock 22 pistol during the drive-by, took off running from the East Pittsburgh officer. Rosfeld shot Rose. The police officer testified that he thought one of the teens had turned and pointed a gun at him.
It took four days of trial and four hours of deliberation before officer Rosfeld was acquitted. Key to the case was Pennsylvania law that states, “a peace officer, or any person whom he has summoned or directed to assist him, need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest. He is justified in the use of any force which he believes to be necessary to effect the arrest and of any force which he believes to be necessary to defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest. However, he is justified in using deadly force only when he believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or such other person.”
Pouncey, whose fellow offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva chose to honor a Silver Star awardee, wrote that by wearing Rose’s name on his helmet, he “inadvertently supported a cause of which I did not fully comprehend the entire background of the case. I take responsibility for not doing more investigating into something that is sensitive to the community and his family, but it is a lesson learned as it relates to political issues that occur every day in our society.”
The Steelers have chosen to wear Rose’s name on the back of their helmets for the entire season, but Pouncey says he won’t be following along.
“Moving forward, I will make my own decisions about what to wear on the back of my helmet. Make no mistake, I am against racism and I believe the best thing I can do is to continue helping repair relationships between the police and their communities. System racism issues have occurred in our country for too long, and that needs to stop.”