The St. Louis Rams' "hands up" protest on the field before Sunday's NFL game against the Oakland Raiders has the St. Louis Police Officers Association calling for the players involved to be disciplined.
During Sunday's pregame introductions, Rams players Jared Cook, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, and Chris Given walked out with their arms raised in the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture that has become synonymous with the Ferguson protests, according to the New York Daily News.
The motion is meant to imply the innocence of Michael Brown, the African American teen who was shot dead by a white police officer over the summer. A grand jury cleared that officer, Darren Wilson, of any wrongdoing last week, setting off a fresh wave of riots and protests across the country.
Jeff Roorda, SLPOA business manager, issued a statement Sunday condemning the Rams' "hands up" protest.
"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," Roorda said, according to KSDK.com
"Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week . . . so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer," he continued, "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."
No word yet from the NFL on the players' actions, but Cook made a brief statement to the media about his decision to engage in an on-field protest.
"I just think there has be to a change," the tight end said. "There has to be change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world."
Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force Saturday
amidst death threats against the force.
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