Just prior to the St. Louis Rams game against the Oakland Raiders, five players — Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britty, Jared Cook and Chris Givens — came out for player introductions and assumed the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” pose that has been popularized since the August death of Michael Brown at the hand of a Ferguson police officer.
By Sunday night, the members of the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) had lost their collective minds, issuing a statement criticizing the gesture by the players. Here’s a portion of what the SLPOA had to say:
The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. (SLPOA Business Manager Jeff) Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization’s displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, “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. 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.
After the game, the St. Louis players were asked about their show of hands:
Here’s the tape: