The NFL is allowing players to put the names of black Americans killed by police on their helmets this year as part of the league’s embrace of the controversial Black Lives Matter movement.
But no one saw this coming.
And what one NFL player put on their helmet to protest left jaws on the ground.
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva attended West Point and served three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
In 2017, Villanueva stood out for standing on the field for the national anthem with his hand over heart while every other member of the Steelers hid in the locker room to protest President Trump saying every NFL player should stand for the anthem or be fired.
For Week One of the NFL season, Villanueva made waves again.
Every member of the Steelers was wearing the name of Antwon Rose, Jr.
Pittsburgh police shot Rose after he fled the scene of an arrest where police found Rose in a car with bullet holes in the side that matched the description of a vehicle involved in a drive by shooting.
Villanueva covered up Rose, Jr.’s name and displayed the name Alwyn C. Cashe, who served in the army and was killed in Iraq in 2005 while attempting to help fellow soldiers from a vehicle severely damaged in a roadside bomb.
Fox News reports:
Villanueva, a former captain in the U.S. Army who served three tours in Afghanistan and became an Army Ranger before joining the NFL in 2014, was seen covering Rose’s name with that of Alwyn Cashe.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe died in 2005 after attempting to rescue fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle following a roadside bomb in Samarra, Iraq, on Oct. 17, according to the Military Times. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body, eventually succumbing to those injuries on Nov. 5.
He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
Despite the claims that the league and sportswriters wanted to see players express their political views, Villanueva honoring a deceased war hero rather than the trendy Black Lives Matter cause of the day led to social media uproar.
But if the protestors claim they honor and respect the military, shouldn’t they have applauded Villanueva bringing attention to one of America’s fallen heroes?
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.