In a very controversial move, a few players of the St. Louis Rams raised their hands against the Michael Brown Shooting, as the Rams took the field in their game against the Oakland Raiders. Using the popular, “hands up, don’t shoot,” the players showed their support for protesters who demand justice after the shooter, police officer Darren Wilson, was found not guilty. Though this move went viral, claiming respect from many viewers around the world, police officers of Ferguson are highly offended and are now demanding punishment against the players.
Players Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens, and Kenny Britt stood in front of the crowd at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, side-by-side and undivided showing their solidarity in support for Michael Brown. As many know, Michael Brown was an 18-year-old kid who was shot on August 9th. According to sources, witnesses claimed that Brown had his hands up as police apprehended him, though according to the police officer who shot him, Darren Wilson, their was reason to believe Brown was armed as he was shot fatally.
As the court reviewed the case a few weeks ago, they found officer Wilson non-guilty of the crimes alleged against him, providing no justice for Brown as residents of Ferguson were concerned. This led to mass protest in the city of Ferguson, and surrounding cities. Though officer Wilson recently resigned in response to the mass protests and lack of security that the city has been facing, protesters are still not satisfied.
Though the protest by players of the St. Louis Rams was peaceful, as they only stood together with their hands up in support for the Michael Brown shooting, police officers are seeking punishment against them. According to police, they believe Kenny Britt of the Rams to be the leader of the movement that took place at their 52-0 win against the Raiders, as statements from the other players would suggest, as well. The NFL, of course, jumped on the band wagon, issuing a lengthy statement regarding the discipline of the players and expecting an apology from them.
Though Britt, who has apparently had previous run-ins with the police, claimed that the hands up stand by the players did not mean they were choosing sides and meant no disrespect to the police, authorities still believe that this type of gesture by the players can not be tolerated. Many of the police officers claimed that the move was offensive, tasteless, and inflammatory, stating that with the players being like role models, they should never have done such a thing. Jeff Roorda, business manager of the association SLPOA, stated that he would remind the players of the NFL that the protesters who are burning down buildings are not the ones who buy their advertiser’s products, claiming that they should remember that the police and the good citizens of the surrounding towns are the ones who support them most.
Though many fans, and viewers of the video taken of the Rams’ players raising their hands against the Michael Brown shooting, have shown much support, police officials and the NFL are less than supporting. They are expecting to punish the players, in some way, for their controversial stand.
By Crystal Boulware
Update: Sports Illustrated recently released news that the NFL has refused to punish the players on the Rams team for their protest at the game.