Thanks at least in part due to the nature of the virtual offseason, we haven’t heard a lot from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, in terms of directly addressing the sports media. Maybe for some this is seen as a welcome respite from the obviouslys and the it is what it ises, but for us, it really contributes to a dearth of content, and an absence of the record on what we would normally hear from him.
That hasn’t been entirely by coincidence. In fact, while speaking at the ManUp event yesterday, for example, he explained why he has been publicly silent about the George Floyd murder and the subsequent protests.
“In the midst of it all, because of the position that I hold, I’ve been asked a lot about my feelings regarding that and what’s transpired, asked to deliver personal statements and so forth”, he said in addressing a virtual audience. “Through it all, largely, I have remained silent, and I have remained silent by choice, by design, at least temporarily, and I’ve done so thoughtfully”.
I’m a guy that tries to live my life by doing as opposed to saying. Being proactive in action in terms of reactive. I’ve always kind of had that agenda for the better part of my adult life. I just want to live in that consciousness. So I’m hesitant to make statements in reaction to what’s transpired, because I’m hoping that I live a life that displays my position, not only in the subjects that we’re talking about in this instance, but on a lot of subjects. And I hope that my position is displayed not in my words, but in my actions and how I move and how I live.
I’m very emotional about the current circumstances, and when I’m emotional, I don’t eloquently express myself. My message gets lost. It dulls what I intend to say. And let’s be honest, in this climate, no matter what people like me say, it’s in some way gonna be politicized and used against us, or used for some agenda that may have nothing to do with what we’re saying.
I’m sure there will be both wide agreement and disagreement about what Tomlin has to say here regarding his silence. He is certainly right about how outsiders will try to use your words in ways you don’t intend, but Alejandro Villanueva recently drew criticism for declining to comment, so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And twice damned if you do and then have a change of heart.
One thing that he said later on, however, resonated with me more. “Statements are nice, but making an impact is more significant”, he said. Words can be an empty gesture if not met with action. It’s true that words in and of themselves can be powerful, but for many, leading by example is essential, and what helps to inspire others to live the same way, through deeds and action.