JuJu Smith-Schuster touched a nerve by dancing on opponents’ logos.
His mom ended up paying a price on social media.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver made the ritual part of his pregame warmups, dancing and spiking balls at the 50-yard line while someone recorded the routine and set it to music for his TikTok followers.
To nobody’s surprise, opponents took umbrage.
Opponents brush back JuJu
The Dallas Cowboys thwarted his effort to recreate the routine in-game after he scored a touchdown in November. Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell vowed before a Week 15 matchup to make Smith-Schuster pay with a physical toll — and followed through in punishing fashion.
All the while, Smith-Schuster painted the obvious act of disrespect as simply an expression of being himself and sharing a moment with his social media followers.
Social media went after JuJu’s mom
As his dancing coincided with a three-game Steelers losing streak, the routine and the drama surrounding it went full-circle internet — in the worst way.
Smith-Schuster’s mother, Sammy Toa-Schuster, posted on Instagram on Sunday that she’s been receiving death threats. She didn’t explicitly state that they were prompted by JuJu’s dance routine, but it’s not hard to connect the dots from her post.
She posted the Instagram story on Sunday after Smith-Schuster scored a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s win over the Indianapolis Colts.
“After weeks of so many hate messages to death threats ... I can’t help but cry when my baby scored his TD,” Toa-Schuster wrote. “Y’all love him when we winning but hate when we are losing.”
She signed off writing “#Corvette #Corvette,” a defiant allusion to the song that inspired Smith-Schuster’s dance route.
Dance routine is done
After the ritual inspired Bell’s monstrous hit that forced a fumble in Pittsburgh’s loss to Cincinnati, head coach Mike Tomlin promised to have a word with his star receiver. Smith-Schuster has since vowed to cut the routine.
Now we know that that the backlash to his dancing extended beyond the football field and toward his family.
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