Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin: ‘Privilege does not shield us from sadness’

Before the Pittsburgh Steelers began their practice Friday night at Heinz Field, head coach Mike Tomlin had a message.

With players locking arms behind him and joined on the field by longtime general manager Kevin Colbert and team owner Art Rooney II, Tomlin said the Steelers organization is united in the fight against social injustice.

"We've learned a lot of lessons in 2020, be it from the pandemic or the social unrest. The big perspective that it's 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," said Tomlin, who has been with the Steelers since 2007 and is one of only three Black head coaches in the NFL.

"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."

We stand united. pic.twitter.com/I3OcL50qjz

He continued: "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 share with those that are hurting tonight that we see you, that we hear you, but most importantly we stand with you." 

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during Monday's practice. (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

Tomlin and the team then went to midfield, where they held a prayer "for betterment," which was led by tight end Vance McDonald. 

Together. pic.twitter.com/TiZYaN40Q7

Tomlin, 48, is entering his 14th season as Steelers head coach. Only Bill Belichick (Patriots) and Sean Payton (Saints) have been with their respective teams longer. He has never had a losing season as a head coach, sitting at 133-74-1 in his career, and guided the Steelers to the Super Bowl XLIII championship after the 2008 season. 

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