Following the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue almost two weeks ago, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton decided to honor the team’s opponents on Thursday night when they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
For the occasion, Newton wore a pair of “Stronger Than Hate” cleats during the game, dressed up in Steelers colors to show his solidarity with the people of Pittsburgh in the wake of the tragedy. According to the Bleacher Report, a number of Steelers players were also wearing customized “Stronger Than Hate” cleats for the game.
The Carolina Panthers shared two close-up photos of Newton’s cleats to their Instagram account, showing the black and gold color combo worn by the Steelers. Along with the phrase “Stronger Than Hate” written multiple times on the footwear, he had added the statement “Hatred Can’t Weaken A City of Steel” as well. He also had the Star of David added to the design, and a slightly modified Steelers logo.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also shared a photo of his own black and yellow cleats to Twitter. Aside from the “Stronger Than Hate” slogan featured on the heel, he also incorporated the names of every victim killed in the shooting and a blue Star of David as a nod to the Jewish community in place of the third part of the Steelers logo.
The Panthers also delivered bunches of yellow flowers to the Tree of Life synagogue just hours before the game was set to kick off.
“With these flowers we extend our deepest sympathies to the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh. #StrongerThanHate,” they wrote on Twitter with a photo of the beautiful gesture.
There has been plenty of support coming the way of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh since the horrendous shooting, with many sports teams and individuals showing their love from outside the city as well. Others who have gotten involved include the Baltimore Ravens, one of the Steelers’ most bitter rivals, who used the opportunity before their game against Pittsburgh last week to share a message of unity. Julian Edelman, the Patriots receiver, wore a Team Israel cap before squaring off against the Bills on Monday.
In total, 11 people were killed when 46-year-old Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue during Shabbat morning services with an AR-15 rifle and two handguns. A further nine people, including four responding police officers, were injured in the massacre, which is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the U.S. in history.