On Sunday, five St. Louis Rams offensive players – Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt – entered the field in the game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands up.
In a post-game interview, Cook said they wanted to do something to help stop the violence:
We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something. 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.
Cook said it was a show of respect:
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.
We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it. That’s what we hope we can make happen. That’s our community. We wanted to let the community know that we support the community.
Parenthetically, the Ferguson protestors are leading in Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” reader poll.
Still, the St. Louis Police Officers Association went ballistic. The SLPOA said the gesture was “tasteless, offensive and inflammatory”:
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.
The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology.
After further review, the NFL told the SLPOA to ram it. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement:
We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation.
Who’s singing “St. Louis Blues” now?