On Saturday, 11 people were killed in a shooting at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns at nearby Heinz Stadium and paid emotional tribute to the victims.
The team’s president Art Rooney II released a statement prior to the game, asking fans to join the Steelers in a moment of silence and encouraging those reading to fight hate.
“Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature, and come together to preserve our values and our community,” Rooney shared.
An altered version of the Steelers’ logo also made the rounds after Saturday’s tragedy. In it, the yellow diamond is replaced with a Star of David. The message reads, “Stronger Than Hate.”
According to CNN, the new logo was designed by Tim Hindes, who was a mile away from the shooting. “I wanted it to be of resiliency and hope. It was private at first, but friends urged me to make the post public, as it resonated with them,” he reportedly wrote in a Facebook post.
Before Sunday’s game, Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward was seen wearing a shirt depicting the word “Pittsburgh” in a heart. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Heyward used to live in Squirrel Hill. “That community means so much to me,” he said, sharing that his father played basketball at the local Jewish Community Center.
“Pittsburgh’s stronger than that,” Heyward said. “There’s so many different types of people in Pittsburgh. I think it’s a great melting pot where everybody cares about everybody.”
According to ESPN, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin shared that he lives in Squirrel Hill, close to the Tree of Life Congregation where the shooting took place. “Words cannot express how we feel as members of the community. We are prayerful,” he reportedly said after Sunday’s game.
Two of the victims of the shooting, David and Cecil Rosenthal, were siblings of Michele Rosenthal, a former community relations manager for the Steelers. “It was tough. It was crazy tough, especially with Michele and the closeness we have with her,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shared.
“We’re thankful for the victory, but we also understand there are bigger things — there’s life,” Roethlisberger added, according to ESPN. “I’m glad we could gift people three hours with a break.”
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