Rams receiving corps takes field with ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ Ferguson protest
The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, have touched many American lives, and that includes NFL players in St. Louis.
On Sunday, the St. Louis Rams’ receiving corps engaged in a very public display of support for protesters in the city, where 18-year-old African-American teen Michael Brown was shot and killed in August by white police officer Darren Wilson. The decision not to indict Wilson in the shooting was handed down days ago.
As Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt emerged from the tunnel before the Rams took on the Oakland Raiders, they paid tribute to the "Hands up, don’t shoot" display that has been popular among protesters in Ferguson. Austin and Britt were joined by Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens and Jared Cook in the televised display seen here:
— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 30, 2014
The show of solidarity continued into the game. After Tre Mason scored on an 8-yard run to make it 45-0 in the fourth quarter, he and Britt raised their hands together.
Across the street from the stadium, about 75 protesters gathered in the second half as about 30 police wearing riot gear watched from a safe distance. Protesters chanted "Hands up, don’t shoot!" "No Justice, No Football!" "This is what Democracy looks like," and "We’re here for Mike Brown."
The Rams had additional security measures in place for the game, including armed personnel from the National Guard. The team has wanded fans outside entrances all season.
It’s not the first time the team has reached out to the St. Louis suburb since Brown’s death. In August, the Rams invited three high schools in the Ferguson area to use their indoor practice facility for several days, as nightly protests had delayed the beginning of classes and had those teams scrambling to find places to prepare for their seasons.
"You need more people like this, more organizations like these guys," Courtland Griffin, coach of the McCluer North football team, said at the time. "They didn’t have to ask us to come out here. They didn’t have to reach out to us to come out here. They made it available for us. That’s awesome. That’s big."
Nor are the Rams the only NFL players to speak out. Last weekend, New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson penned a Facebook post regarding his reaction to the Ferguson controversy. Watson’s post went viral.
The Associated Press contributed.