Juju Smith-Schuster was spotted in pregame warm-ups wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt for the team’s Monday Night Football showdown with the New York Giants, and fans are split.
In fact, it was more than just Smith-Schuster rocking a BLM shirt before his team’s 26-16 win. Several players wore the black shirts with bold white letters and political message. Some of them read “End Racism.” Juju Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Marcus Allen, Mike Hilton and Bud Dupree were among players on the team who wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts, while Jordan Dangerfield, T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Cam Sutton and Steven Nelson had on “End Racism” shirts, according to CBS affiliate KDKA in Pittsburgh.
During the national anthem, rather than kneel, the team also held a banner that read, “Steelers Against Racism,” that included the players’ hometowns.
Fans were split online over the shirts. Some felt the players were trying to interject personal politics into the sport. Others believed it was the players’ responsibility to use their platform to educate and call out social injustice.
But many fans came out in support of the players and their choice of shirts. Some even asking where they could buy their own.
Why make a big deal about this its the truth we need to put an end to all this racism, parents friends and neighbors don’t teach anyone to hate each other its best to say be kind to one another because we are in this together,Matilda Nelson, Facebook comment
Steelers choose to honor victim on their helmets
The Steelers also chose to wear Antwon Rose Jr.’s name on the back of their helmets. Rose, a black 17-year-old, was fatally shot last year by a white officer during a traffic stop in East Pittsburgh, Pa., according to the New York Times.
However, Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva chose to wear the name Alwyn Cashe. Cashe was an Army Sgt. 1st Class who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. An improvised explosive device killed Cashe in 2005, according to the Military Times.
Prior to joining the NFL, Villanueva served three tours of duty in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger.