The St. Louis Police Officers Association is demanding an apology and explanation after several St. Louis Rams football players entered the field Sunday in a “hands up don’t shoot” pose to show their support for Ferguson protesters.
Wide receivers Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt and tight end Jared Cook displayed the gesture one week after a grand jury determined it did not have sufficient evidence to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of teen Michael Brown, reports USA Today. A spokesperson for the St. Louis Rams says the team didn’t know the players were planning on demonstrating in this way.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda released a statement – a portion of which reads:
The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.
Now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson's account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.
I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser's products. It's cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters.
The demonstration was particularly offensive, according to the police department, because they say the Rams and NFL were in constant contact with them this week asking for assurance that its fans and players would be protected against protesters at the stadium, reports KSDK.
The SLPOA has asked that the five players involved be disciplined and is demanding a public apology from the Rams and the NFL.
Here is a clip of the players displaying the protest gesture: