Mike Tomlin gave an impassioned speech before the Steelers held a moment of prayer.
Before the Pittsburgh Steelers held a mock game during practice on Friday, head coach Mike Tomlin took to the middle of the field to give an address to the wider public.
As his players stood in a line behind him locking arms, Tomlin delivered an impassioned speech about racial inequality in America, addressing this time of turmoil and social unrest in the wake of the Jacob Black shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this week.
After Tomlin concluded his speech, the players, coaches, trainers, and even owner Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert gathered in a circle at midfield in a moment of prayer on bended knee.
Mike Tomlin delivered an urgent speech on striving for racial equality
Here is Tomlin’s speech in its entirety:
“Good evening. This evening, as we go about our normal football business, we come before you standing united as an organization, as a football team, as football men, from different ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and even countries of origin. We stand united by our talents and our love for the game of football.
“That love and those talents have taught us great tolerance and understanding. We realize that those blessings put us in the minority. We’ve learned a lot of lessons in 2020. Be it from the pandemic or the social unrest, the big perspective that is provided us is: Regardless of how big and important this game is for us, it’s small in the big scheme of things. But we also realize that we’re privileged to have a platform. We’re committed to taking action and being a part of the solution to face social injustice and prejudice that we all face, not only in our country, but worldwide. It is our desire to be active participants in the formation of a more perfect union.
“That being said, we realize recent events are the continued reminder how far we are from that. We stand before you acknowledging that we are blessed and privileged. But that privilege does not shield us from sadness. That privilege does not shield us from shock or outrage. It does not shield us from fear — fear for our safety or our loved ones or an uncertain future. Beyond being football men, first and foremost, we’re husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, members of a community. And we wanted to pause and to share with those that are hurting tonight that we see you, that we hear you, but most importantly, we stand with you.
“Now we take a moment to come together in the middle of the field as a group of men and pray for betterment. Thank you.”