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Mike Tomlin says he would support Steelers players protesting

As protests have carried on through the United States following the killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis while in police custody, support for the movement to end police brutality and social injustice has grown within the NFL.

That includes coaches.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that he and the organization would support player protests during the upcoming 2020 season.

"As an organization and a staff, we have focused our energies on supporting our players and their wishes and establishing structure and support to the things they want to say and do," Tomlin told reporters Tuesday, per the team's official site. "We spent a lot of group time talking about the on-going issues, the platform they have and how to best utilize it and how to do so thoughtfully. Our position is simple. We're going to support our players and their willingness to partake in this, whether it's statement or actions."

Tomlin, one of four minority head coaches currently in the NFL, has coached the Steelers since 2007.

Previously, Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem during the 2016 season. Preceding a Week 3 game against the host Chicago Bears in 2017, the majority of the Steelers team did not appear on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem in the aftermath of President Donald Trump suggesting NFL owners fire players who kneel for the anthem.

The NFL's third longest-tenured head coach, Tomlin was resolute in his statement that he would support his players protesting, though he underlined it by saying he expected it to be done in respectful fashion.

"You know my position, I've stated it in the past, that statements are good, but impact is better, particularly long-term impact," Tomlin said. "Those that have a desire to participate in a positive way, they are going to be supported by us. All we ask is whatever they say and do, they do so thoughtfully and with class."

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