This time a year ago Ryan Tannehill was not comfortable enough to speak up among his teammates.
Now, unchallenged as the Tennessee Titans’ starting quarterback and with a contract that makes him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players at his position, he feels confident enough to speak out on social issues.
Tannehill took to Twitter on Wednesday and offered his thoughts this week’s incident in Minneapolis in which a man died while being arrested by police. A 10-minute video recorded by a witness included footage of one George Floyd, 46, complaining that he could not breathe while one of the arresting officers knelt on the back of his neck.
The exact cause of death is under investigation, and the four officers involved have been fired.
Tannehill is not the only the high-profile athlete – or the only Titans player – who has decided to weigh in on the matter. Kenny Vaccaro retweeted a video commentary from Emmanuel Acho. LeBron James, Odell Beckham, Colin Kaepernick and Lisa Leslie are among those who shared their own thoughts.
Tannehill has said multiple times that after the Titans acquired him last March to be Marcus Mariota’s backup, he held his tongue in meetings and practices because he did not want to overstep his bounds. He rediscovered his voice after he replaced Mariota as the starter last October and signed a four-year, $118 million extension in March.
Off the field, he and his wife Lauren operate a foundation that mentors select high school students and provides scholarships for those who achieve classroom success and take an active role in their community.