National Football League
Browns respect WR Andrew Hawkins' right to protest after police union complaint over shirt
National Football League

Browns respect WR Andrew Hawkins' right to protest after police union complaint over shirt

Published Dec. 15, 2014 10:10 a.m. ET

CLEVELAND -- The Browns say they respect the police and their player's rights to protest after wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a T-shirt Sunday supporting two black Ohioans killed during encounters with law enforcement.

Hawkins wore the black T-shirt during pre-game warmups and introductions for Cleveland's home game against Cincinnati. The messages read: "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford" on the front and "The Real Battle for Ohio" on the back.

The 12-year-old Rice died Nov. 22 after he was shot by a rookie officer investigating a complaint about the youngster, who was carrying a fake gun. Crawford, 22, was fatally shot Aug. 5 while holding an air-pellet rifle inside a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer told cleveland.com that Hawkins is "disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision."

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