Amy Adams Strunk was not waiting on Jerry Jones, and NFL owners shouldn't be

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – "Where are the NFL Owners now during this powerful movement?"

That’s the title to a Wednesday tweet by ESPN reporter Dianna Russini of a video clip from Get Up.

In it, she suggested that numerous NFL owners listen to Hall of Famer Jerry Jones and seemed likely to wait to hear from the Cowboys owner and follow the lead of the first domino to speak on social injustice – an idea that gained traction with at least one other outlet.AmyAdamsStrunk2019

But actually we’d seen or heard statements from at least 10 NFL owners, 32 percent of them, by then -- Jeffrey Lurie of the Eagles, Gayle Benson of the Saints, Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens, Jed York of the 49ers, George McCaskey of the Bears, Jim Irsay of the Colts, Dee and Jim Haslam of the Browns, Kim and Terry Pegula of the Bills, Cal McNair of the Texans and Shad Khan of the Jaguars.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also wasn't waiting on Jones when he apologized to players for the league’s failure to support them before and pledged to change last week. He did that just a day after an impactful video was released by some of the league’s most visible players, and many of us wondered if Goodell had consulted with any of his bosses at all before making his statement.

Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk stepped forward Thursday with a strong statement of her own, also ahead of Jones.

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 has 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.

We also heard from Jon Robinson for the first time on the protests and civil unrest. He tied the current national climate and conversations he's had with staff and players into the pledge of allegiance. You can see it at the start of the video here.

Strunk is not attempting to stay in a gray area where the Titans’ box-office appeal might be safe with anyone and everyone. At least a segment of the team’s fan base might have wanted her to stay uninvolved in an issue that's simply hard to avoid. The team's players certainly did not. The NFL is composed of roughly 70 percent African-American players. Among the first to like the team's tweet of her statement was Malcolm Butler, who is black.RedonNavyStars

A loud portion of the fan base proclaimed it would swear off buying tickets or even watching the team if any players kneeled to raise awareness for social injustice and police brutality when the issue was first raised by Colin Kaepernick and other players around the league in 2016.

No Titans ever knelt during the national anthem, though some raised a fist at the end of it.

At an Alabama rally on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump addressed protesting players at an Alabama rally.

Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out -- he's fired!'"

Two days later, the Titans and Seahawks remained in the locker room for the national anthem.

"As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today," the Titans said in a statement released before kickoff. "The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic."

apple icon 144x144 precomposedPlayers this week said they had not yet thought about the potential for a pregame protest.

"Honestly, I really haven’t given any thought to it," Kevin Byard said. "I know a few years back when it was a question of teams kneeling, different things like that, I know us as a team, the Titans, we came together and we made a decision. I think we played Seattle that game and both teams decided not to come out.

"But it’s something I haven’t thought about at all. I honestly feel like the fact that the conversation is being shifted a little bit toward how we’re going to protest and different things like that, it just shifts the conversation from what the issue (is) and the things we really need to focus on, which is the racial injustice and different things like that.

"No, honestly, I haven’t given any thought to it. I’m sure that when the time comes, us as a team, we’ll make a decision as a team."

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