The Pittsburgh Steelers made a big statement on their fight against racism. During the national anthem of the team's Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, the players held a giant batter that read "Steelers Against Racism" while on the sideline. Several players also raised their fist to support to Black Lives Matter movement.
Along with the banner, the Steelers also wore the name Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets. Rose was a Black 17-year old who was shot and killed by a police officer in the Pittsburgh area in 2018. "I can't explain it," Michelle Kenney, Rose's mom, said, via Steelers.com. "It was indescribable. It's my son. And not only is one person on the team going to wear his name on their helmet. They took a vote, and the entire team is going to wear his name on their helmets. How do you even make sense of that? I wish I could give you some adjective to explain, but I can’t do anything but cry. I can't do anything but cry."
In June, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked to reporters about where the team stands on protesting the national anthem and said he wanted his team to be respectful. "We've spent a lot of group time talking about the ongoing issues, talking about the platform that they have and how to best utilize it, and how to do so thoughtfully," Tomlin said as reported by Sports Illustrated. "Our position is simple: We're going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this -- whether it's statements or actions.
Tomlin went on to say he wants to make sure the players make a long-lasting impact. "I really focus my energies on serving the players that I lead and making sure that they're getting the support that they need regarding the present circumstances," he added. "I've taken a more narrower, grassroots approach. There are people that are employed to have that perspective and I'm not one of them." As for the game, the Steelers came away with a 26-16 victory over the New York Giants. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his return after missing 14 games last season with an elbow injury and threw three touchdown passes in the win.