Sunday’s show of professional football players engaged in a provocative display of “hands up, don’t shoot” posturing before the Rams-Raiders game in St. Louis has St. Louis cops up in arms.
But the NFL has already decided the players won’t be punished, according to USA Today.
In a statement issued late Sunday, the St. Louis County Police Officers Association – a union representing officers in the area that includes the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson – scorched the Rams players for “tasteless, offensive and inflammatory” behavior that was an insult to law enforcement officers everywhere.
In the statement, attributed to SLCPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda, the union said:
“Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week, they had days off including Thanksgiving cancelled 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 and 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.
“The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology.”
Neither is likely to happen.
“We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement, according to USA Today.
The five players were Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens.
After the game, the players told ESPN the gesture was their way of showing support for the Ferguson community.
“We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something,” Cook said. “We haven’t been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it’s kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.
“So we wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and the people who have been doing a heck of a job around the world.”
Well, cops in St. Louis County wouldn’t have minded being told they were doing a heck of a job, too – what with trying to keep criminals from burning down businesses and generally running riot with the same “hands up, don’t shoot” attitude the players brought to the field with them on Sunday.
And in case geniuses like Cook et al didn’t realize it, the fan base of the NFL is at bottom middle-class America, the kind of people – white and black – who don’t appreciate rioting as some kind of art form for social justice.
That something the police union is trying to make them aware of.
“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,” the union’s statement said.
“If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.”
A lot of those cops, and they’re supporters, were Rams fans until Sunday.
Many Twitter users — Rams fans or not — weren’t happy either, especially with the league’s decision to look the other way in the case. (Note: Some strong language ahead.)
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 1, 2014
— Graham Foster (@grahamalondis) December 1, 2014
— Rodger Willson (@RodgerWillson) December 1, 2014
— Ken Zimmern (@KenZimmern) December 1, 2014
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