Head coach Mike Tomlin gave a speech and the team gathered for a prayer.By Andy Sheehan

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Steelers prayed “for betterment” on Friday at Heinz Field ahead of practice.

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(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Steelers Twitter)

Head coach Mike Tomlin gave a speech, addressing how the diversity of the team and its reaction to the pandemic and other ongoing events.

“That love and those talents have taught us great tolerance and understanding. We realize that those blessing put us in the minority. We’ve learned a lot of lessons in 2020, be it from the pandemic, or the social unrest. The big perspective it has provided us is regardless of how big and important this game is for us, it’s small in the big scheme of things.”

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Tomlin’s message comes amid professional sports teams responding to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The NHL joined the NBA in canceling their playoff games this week. MLB teams also sat out games. While some NFL did not practice, the Steelers did. Tomlin said the squad’s social justice committee is discussing what he calls positive actions.

“I continue to appreciate the hearts and spirit of our players in terms of wanting to participate and engage in a positive way and express themselves. That is their right. 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,” Tomlin said.

But it is not clear if the Steelers will play their first regular-season game against the New York Giants on Sept. 14. Star running back Saquon Barkley told ESPN that the team’s players will discuss the possibility of boycotting games.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said it is important for him to keep an open mind and ears to the concerns of his teammates.

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“We need to educate ourselves,” Roethlisberger said. “Specifically, I would like to educate myself. That’s why I say I’m listening. I think listening is such an important thing to do because, obviously, I look up at a lot of my teammates and a lot of my friends. How can I better educate myself and listen and learn because we all need to do and be better?