While it’s not quite the same as Friday Night Lights out in Latrobe, the Pittsburgh Steelers held their night practice earlier this evening at Heinz Field. Like last year, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the crowd before the proceedings began, and expressed appreciation for their support, while also acknowledging their engagement in social activities over the course of the past year and a half. You can read a transcript of his comments below:
We just wanted to acknowledge and be thankful for the support that we get from you this evening. In the last 12 months, we’ve all been challenged in ridiculous ways. We were blessed enough to still have an opportunity to pursue our passions, and do our jobs. We understand, a lot of people were less fortunate than us.
We thank you, we see you, for your courage and spirit, in facing a pandemic, and the challenges that it caused. Also, 12 months ago, we acknowledge that our nation was ravaged by social unrest. We stood right here 12 months ago and made a commitment to be positive contributors to the development of a more perfect union.
We formalized our efforts with social justice committees and got out into our community. 12 months later, we affirm that commitment. We still intend to be positive contributors to our communities, here, and the communities which we come from.
We thank you for your support, not only on nights like tonight, but as we work hard to utilize our blessings, and the platform that we have, to be positive contributors to ‘us’. We thank you tonight; hope you enjoy our work. Thank you.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 30, 2021
Emphasizing bring positive contributors, these remarks are very much in line with the message that he delivered last year. “Statements are nice, but making an impact is more significant”, he said last year. Subsequently, the players organically formed committees, as Tomlin mentioned, designed to figure out ways that they can make positive contributions, not just in the Pittsburgh area, but also in their hometowns.
By and large, many players have already been doing this sort of thing on their own through their charitable work, but the events of last Summer shook many people into wanting to be more focused in delivering changes in their own communities that they wanted to see.
It’s not something that they actively talk about publicly, but prefer to do on their own. Last year, however, Cameron Heyward and Vince Williams did address the topic, part of which statement you can read below:
We’ve come together over this offseason to make committees to move forward, whether it’s our voter engagement, in helping voter suppression and getting rid of that. We’ve even had talks about trying to do a voter hub, and the Steelers have been very receptive of that.
Community and police forums, criminal justice forums, working on not only policy, but also police culture, to hold others accountable, and education and community investment as well. We understand that we have to invest in our community. We understand that we have to invest in our children. And through these opportunities, those are the ways we can make change. We understand the job’s not done. We understand that we are only the minority in this situation, but we have a job to do, and we want to make sure that we take advantage of that.