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Making a powerful statement

Powerful.

That is the only way to describe what happened before the start of the Steelers night practice at Heinz Field on Friday.

Before the team went to work, before they began drills and hitting, they put their emotions on display, addressing as one the social injustice that has occurred in our country as of late.

After coming out of the Heinz Field tunnel, the players all went to the visitor's sideline where Coach Mike Tomlin spoke about the injustice, with Steelers President Art Rooney II and General Manager Kevin Colbert flanking him.

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His words were heartfelt, passionate, emotional and powerful. They came from deep within, sharing not just his thoughts, but the thoughts of the men standing behind him, players, coaches and staff, all linking arms as one, before being led in prayer at midfield by Vance McDonald.

"Good evening," began Tomlin. "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, socioeconomic backgrounds, and even countries of origin. We stand united by our talent 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, being from the pandemic or the social unrest. The big perspective that it provided us is regardless of how big and important this game is for us, it's small in the big scheme of things. We also realize we are privileged to have a platform. We are 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 a continued reminder of 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. This privilege does not shield us from shock or outrage. It does not shield us from fear, fear for our safety, or a loved one or an uncertain future. Beyond being football men, first and foremost we are husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, members of a community. 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.

"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."

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