Titans Owner Backs Players Using Peaceful Protests to 'Advance Us as a Nation'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2020

Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk walks on the field before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New England Patriots, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk released a statement Thursday expressing full support of players peacefully protesting racial injustice and police brutality against black people: 

"I want to add my voice and the voice of our organization to the calls for equality and reiterate our firm stance against all forms of racism.

"Hearts, minds and institutions need to change throughout our country. Those who face racism need to be heard, and more importantly, understood by those who haven't listened before.

"Our organization and our players have dedicated time and resources to these issues through the 'We Stand For' campaign and we are making a difference in our own community, tackling issues like educational equity, judicial reform, policing policies and assistance for underserved areas. We are proud to support those efforts and we will continue to find ways to impact our region. As part of this, we are providing information to our fans through a resource guide so others can join us in these steps to progress.

“Hearing our players and coaches speak over the last two weeks have been constructive to this vital discussion. I support our players using peaceful protests and their platforms to advance us as a nation. I would encourage those who haven't thought about these issues before to understand the pain, anger and frustration of the black community. Black lives matter. We should all agree on that."

Adams' statement comes six days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was wrong in its attempts to quell peaceful protests in the past. In 2018, the NFL attempted to ban players from kneeling during the national anthem—in part due to outcry from Republican leaders, most notably President Donald Trump.

Colin Kaepernick began the practice of kneeling during the anthem in the 2016 season. Several players have since followed suit, but Kaepernick has become synonymous with the form of protest—a fact that has hindered his ability to land an NFL job since. Kaepernick has been a free agent the last three seasons despite throwing for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2016.

Adams' stance is also at odds with some past statements made by other NFL owners. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who is friends with Trump, threatened that any player who kneels during the anthem would not play for the franchise in 2017.