CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers took a brutal 52-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night, allowing the most points since losing to the Oakland Raiders 52-9 on Christmas Eve in 2000.
But for Panthers players, they wanted to make sure Thursday’s time in Pittsburgh was focused on more than just football before the game ever started.
The game took place at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton wore black and gold cleats with the words “Stronger than Hate” printed on them multiple times. The cleats also had the words “Hatred can’t weaken a city of steel” and the Star of David displayed on them.
These cleats were dedicated to the victims of a horrific attack when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life congregation during services on Saturday, October 27 in Pittsburgh.
The attack killed 11 people and injured six others, including law enforcement officials, and is considered to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.
Hours before the Panthers and Steelers were set to square off, the team made a thoughtful gesture to the city that was the site of a mass shooting less than two weeks ago. They delivered flowers.
The Panthers tweeted an image of yellow flowers in front of the Tree of Life synagogue.
“With these flowers we extend our deepest sympathies to the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh. #StrongerThanHate,” wrote the account.
Panthers owner David Tepper is from Pittsburgh, and was a minority owner of the Steelers before he purchased the Panthers in 2018.
According to ESPN Sports Writer David Newton, the synagogue where the shooting took place was not the one Tepper attended growing up, but was very close to where Tepper lived when he attended school at Carnegie Mellon University.