Mike Tomlin Explains Why Steelers Will Not Boycott
Mike Tomlin explained why his Pittsburgh Steelers did not boycott their practice during a recent session with the media.
“We didn’t give any real consideration to not practicing today,” Tomlin said on Thursday.
“Like I’ve said many times, they will continue to be supported by us as long as their efforts are done thoughtfully and with class,” he continued.
“We desire to have an impact more so than statements. We want to be proactive in our behavior and our thoughts. We had continued conversations not necessarily in reaction to the most recent events that have transpired.”
Mike Tomlin: “We didn’t give any real consideration to not practicing today.”
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 27, 2020
Simply put: Tomlin did not cancel his team’s practice because he saw no need to do so. He did not see what it would accomplish.
All in all, nine NFL teams chose to cancel their practices on Thursday. The Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Football Team all sat out.
The move was made in solidarity with similar actions on the part of multiple NBA teams, who initiated a player-led strike following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer.
Patriots fans had an interesting reaction to Cam Newton’s decision to speak out. https://t.co/ew6UMTU9F3
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 28, 2020
Several MLS and MLB teams also followed suit on Wednesday and Thursday, calling off their scheduled outings as well.
Tomlin has never been shy to speak out about topics that are important, but he is also generally very measured in his actions. If he does not believe that there is a point to something, he does not endorse it just to say that he did.
That, in all likelihood, is why the Steelers ultimately did not boycott practice this week when so many other NFL teams did.
In a league that is 60 percent black, Tomlin is one of only three African-American head football coaches in the NFL. His opinions and decisions when it comes to matters of race relations are always viewed more intensely than those of many of his counterparts.
Ultimately, the NFL is no doubt unsure of how to handle the current climate as it pertains to social issues. Commissioner Roger Goodell has admitted on multiple occasions that he badly botched the whole Colin Kaepernick thing.
If all involved are smart, they will continue to look to leaders like Tomlin for guidance on how to proceed. He has handled countless complicated incidents with a lot of dignity and thoughtfulness, and the commissioner’s office would be wise to shut up and just follow his lead.