During his pre-game warm-ups on Sunday, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt that read â€œJustice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford."
Rice was a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer on Nov. 22, while Crawford was shot and killed by police in a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, back in August, noted MSNBC. Both were African-American and held toy guns.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, a police union, was outraged by Hawkins' shirt and called for an apology last night (video below).
Association president Jeff Follmer told newsnet5 Cleveland in a statement: "It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."
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In response, the Cleveland Browns told newsnet5: "We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players' rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner."
Several Browns fans supported Hawkins' First Amendment right to free speech, according to newsnet5.
The Guardian reports that Crawford's girlfriend, Tashsa Thomas, was questioned by police for 90 minutes and threatened with jail before she was told that Crawford had been killed (by a cop).
"You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail," Beavercreek Detective Rodney Curd told Thomas.