During the first several weeks of games played by teams in the National Football League, many players have been given the opportunity to place messages on the backs of their helmets that urge social justice and national unity.
Most Pittsburgh Steelers players have been wearing the name of Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old black teen who was killed by law enforcement. Rose was in a vehicle that has been seen at a drive-by-shooting. It was stopped by police and Rose fled. He was shot running away. Guns were found in the vehicle. An empty magazine for one of the guns was found in Rose's clothes. The officer was acquitted of the shooting.
According to CBS News, one player for the Steelers—star center Maurkice Pouncey—decided instead to honor a fallen police officer on the back of his helmet.
Pouncey—a longtime police supporter—wore a decal to honor Officer Eric Kelly, who was killed in the line of duty in 2009.
Pouncey—an eight-time Pro Bowler—works with law enforcement in Pittsburgh and his home-state of Florida.
Explaining his decision to honor Officer Kelly, Pouncey said on social media, "My focus will continue to be on helping the police in our communities, and I will support making any necessary changes to help those efforts."
The post continued, "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."
Also of note, Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva chose to honor military veteran Alwyn Cashe on his helmet. Cashe died in Iraq after rescuing six other soldiers.