The NFL has only four minority coaches. Two of those — Anthony Lynn of the Chargers and Ron Rivera of Washington — canceled practice Thursday in light of the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the outcry that has followed. The Dolphins, who have Brian Flores as their head coach, already had a scheduled day off.
The fourth, Mike Tomlin, oversaw the Steelers’ practice Thursday.
“We didn’t give any real consideration to not practicing today,” Tomlin said, via Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the team did discuss the events of this week, which have included postponed games in several sports.
“It’s not like we voted or anything,” Roethlisberger said before practice at Heinz Field, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The biggest thing for me to do, specifically, is listen to my African-American teammates and friends, just to get a better understanding to educate myself.”
Tomlin reiterated the Steelers’ desire to support social justice and players’ rights to speak out, while seeking real, long-term change.
“We desire to have an impact, more so than statements,” Tomlin said. “We want to be proactive in our behavior and thoughts. I continue to appreciate the heart and spirit of wanting to participate and express themselves. That is their right. They will continue to be supported by us as long as it’s done thoughtfully and with class.
“But we also understand we are targets with our opinions . . . and they can be weaponized. We want to move forward thoughtfully. We are excited to be a part of solutions if we can be.”