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Steelers Honor MLK With Decals on Helmets



Steelers WR Dionate Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson celebrates a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 15, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

With the Steelers-Bills game falling on Martin Luther King Day, the Steelers are honoring the life and legacy of the legendary civil rights activist with decals on the back of their helmets.

It’s a league-wide initiative for Wild Card Weekend this year. Teams participating in all six Wild Card games are wearing MLK and Be Love decals on the back of their helmets to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Be Love, a central principle of @TheKingCenter, is also stenciled on each field in honor of Dr. King.

The Steelers website released a video on Monday morning of players and coaches talking about the importance and legacy of Dr. King.

“I think recognizing Martin Luther King Day is important because a lot of the Civil Rights and basic things that we know to have today started with Martin Luther King and him fighting for different things that we can do as African-Americans in this country,” Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson said.

“What Martin Luther King meant to the African-American and Black Movement for people in that time period is unbelievable,” Steelers running backs and co-offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner said. “My parents grew up in that time period. Just his actions and his willingness to speak up when it was frowned upon and wasn’t necessarily a safe thing to do, gave us opportunity to do the things that we enjoy now as Black people. So, I think it’s absolutely important to continue to observe the holiday and hold him in high regard.”

“There’s still a lot of injustice and poverty in the African-American community. And so, anyway I can pour into the community, I try to do my best,” Steelers cornerback Levi Wallace said. “Just try to be a person that people can look up to. He set a high bar. Set a super big example for others to follow.”

MLK Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed on the third Monday of January each year. King was chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which protested racial discrimination in federal and state law and civil society. The movement lead to several groundbreaking legislative reforms in the United States.

The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later on January 20, 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. Official observance in each state’s law as well as federal law occured in 2000.