Steelers player honors fallen officer on helmet
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Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey paid tribute to a fallen police officer during Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos while most of the team honored a Black teenager killed by police.

Pouncey’s helmet displayed the name of officer Eric Kelly, who was killed in the line of duty in 2009, as other players wore helmets bearing the name of Antwon Rose Jr. for the second week in a row.

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Rose, a Black Pittsburgh teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2018. He was shot in the back three times while fleeing a traffic stop of a vehicle that was seen at the scene of a drive-by shooting. Another passenger later pleaded guilty to the shooting. 

Pouncey, a longtime advocate for law enforcement, said in a Thursday Instagram post that he was given “limited information” on Rose’s case and “was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death.”

“I should have done more research to fully understand what occurred in its entirety,” he said.

"Moving forward I will make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet," he added. "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."

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Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva also strayed from the group and both weeks used his helmet to pay tribute to late Army officer Alwyn Cashe, who died from injuries he received in Iraq after saving six fellow soldiers in 2005.

NFL teams have made efforts to support social justice initiatives this year after protests broke out across the country in May following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis police custody.