NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement Thursday that she supports players making peaceful protests and players who choose to "use their platforms to advance us as a nation."
"Hearing our players and coaches speak over the last two weeks has been constructive to this vital discussion," Adams Strunk said in her statement. "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."
On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video statement saying the league had been wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encouraged all to speak out and peacefully protest.
Several owners had spoken out about social injustice -- including the Jacksonville Jaguars' Shad Khan, the New Orleans Saints' Gayle Benson and the Atlanta Falcons' Arthur Blank, as well as Mark Murphy, president of the Green Bay Packers -- before Goodell's video. On Saturday, Carolina owner Dave Tepper announced the Panthers would cut ties with long-term partner CPI Security following comments by CEO Ken Gill downplaying police brutality against people of color.
Most owners were expected to support Goodell's statement, but few have directly addressed the players making peaceful protests, an issue that became divisive for the league four years ago.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have inspired a call to action. Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he will take a knee during the playing of the national anthem this season and that he expects many other players to follow suit. New England Patriots running back James White said he expects his team to peacefully protest, as did Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod.
Taking a knee during the national anthem became a polarizing way of protesting in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the preseason. The protests were met with opposition by those who saw it as a protest of the national anthem and the American flag, instead of how it was intended, as a protest of social injustice. The issue came to a head in 2017, when President Donald Trump said players who took a knee should be "fired."
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill recently expressed a better understanding of the reasoning behind taking a knee during a virtual news conference with the media.
"I think my views have definitely changed. I had to get past the fact that it wasn't about the flag, it wasn't about the anthem, it wasn't about our country. It was about the injustice and raising awareness and getting people's attention. I think once I got past that fact, that I could really support it," Tannehill said.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson also committed to supporting the players in a statement to open his virtual news conference Thursday. Robinson said he has had empowering conversations with multiple players and understands their voices speak for those whose voices might not be as loud or who don't have a voice.
Coach Mike Vrabel was among many coaches who have offered support.
Asked about the possibility of protests on ESPN's NFL Live, Vrabel said: "What the pregame process looks like for the game, I don't know. I don't know what that looks like.
"But I know we need to focus on what we can do now as we lead up to that to continue to promote change. And I will say that our players have been told and understand that we will have their support -- they have our support as they work through making that change."