Pittsburgh Steelers Under Fire for 'Distasteful' Sack Celebration in Wake of Damar Hamlin Incident


The 2022-2023 NFL regular season has officially wrapped up, but that doesn’t mean controversies aren’t still stemming from it.

Case in point, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that most NFL fans outside of Maryland and Ohio would consider a classy organization, was blasted for a “distasteful” celebration during the team’s 28-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.

First, the celebration in question:

FBI Raids Home of Big City Democratic Mayor in Early Hours of the Morning

In the waning minute of the game, Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith was able to sack Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. An unidentified teammate then goes up to Highsmith to perform some simulated CPR to celebrate the sack.

Now, during normal times, it’s doubtful that anyone would even pay attention to that sack celebration. After all, as you can see in the upper left-hand corner of the above clip, the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 9-6. That Dolphins’ win officially knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs, rendering the Steelers-Browns game rather meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

But, these are far from normal times.

Were the Steelers out of line with this celebration?

That Highsmith celebration came less than a week after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a terrifying cardiac arrest episode on Monday Night Football.

While the news that Hamlin had made massive improvements begun circulating well before the Steelers’ game, many fans on Twitter were still quick to lambaste the Steelers for the “dense” celebration:

9 NFL Teams Stand Their Ground, Refuse to Celebrate 'Pride Month'

“Why on Earth would they even think to do this?” asked Total Pro Sports on Twitter. “Disgusting.”

As some Steelers’ fans have pointed out online, this simulated CPR has always been a part of sack celebrations across the NFL, before the Hamlin scare was ever a thing.

Others on social swiftly countered that, while the above statement is true, it doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to be able to “read the room”:

And while it’s extremely unlikely Highsmith meant any ill will towards Hamlin with that celebration, if he did? The Bills will have the last laugh because unlike the Steelers, the Bills are playoff bound.

Speaking of, the NFL playoffs begin Saturday, Jan. 14, with the Seattle Seahawks going to San Francisco to battle the 49ers for the third time and the Los Angeles Chargers traveling to play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On Sunday, the Dolphins will travel to Buffalo for a third matchup, while the New York Giants will face the Vikings in Minnesota. In a battle between two of the Steelers’ most bitter rivals, the Baltimore Ravens will travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals to cap off Sunday night.

On Monday, the Dallas Cowboys will travel to Tampa Bay to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , , ,
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech