This year, the National Football League has faced more than its share of controversy, and it doesn’t look like that will be stopping anytime soon. Five players for the St. Louis Rams took to the field Sunday displaying the â€œhands up, donâ€™t shootâ€ pose that has been discredited by so many.
The five players were Stedman Bailey, Tavon Faustin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt. Michael Brown supporters loved the bold statement, but the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association did not find it inspiring in the least. They said they were “profoundly disappointed” with what they called a “display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory. They are now calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for both the league and team to issue a “very public apology.”
When asked about the gesture Jared Cook said, “There has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.”
Cook, however, didn’t make the trip to visit Ferguson in person. He says, “it’s kind of dangerous down there, and none of us want to get caught up in anything.” But despite his lack of physical presence, Cook still thinks the gesture speak volumes. He added,
“It takes some guts, it takes some heart, so I admire the people around the world that have been doing it.”
The coach said he had no idea that the players planned to come on the field in silent protest.
SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda didn’t mince words in a statement about the incident. He was quoted saying ” All week long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be kept safe from the violent protesters who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson … then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis’s finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance.”
Roorda had a few thoughts on their first amendment rights as well saying, “I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well, I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.” He then reminded 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.”