Rams Players are Under Fire for Protest Act!

Courtesy of ESPN.com

The five Rams players who entered the field before Sunday's game against the Oakland Raidersin St. Louis with their hands in the air in "don't shoot" poses will not be fined for their actions, NFL and team sources tell ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
The players had used the team's pregame introductions to offer a show of support for nearby Ferguson. As the Rams' offense was introduced, tight endJared Cook and receivers Kenny Britt,Stedman BaileyChris Givens and Tavon Austin stopped near the tunnel and raised their hands in a nod to the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Some witnesses said Brown had his hands up before being shot. Wilson, who is white, testified to the grand jury that Brown had hit him and reached for his gun.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association called for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a "very public apology," its statement read in part.
"I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights," SLPOA business manager Jeff Roorda said in the statement. "Well, I've got news for people who think that way: Cops have First Amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. 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. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters."
In response, Brian McCarthy, the NFL's VP of communications, released a statement Monday: "We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation."
"We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something," Cook said after the Rams' 52-0 victory. "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."
Earlier this week, the Rams spent time lamenting the fact there wasn't much they could do to help with the unrest in Ferguson. But Cook said he plans to go to Ferguson once things settle down.
"My sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law -- all of them went this past week for Thanksgiving," Cook said. "They came back and reported to me about the things they saw and what was going on around there. Definitely, I will be making a trip to Ferguson."
Britt said he and his teammates were not "taking sides" with their display.
"We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it," Britt said. "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."
Information from ESPN.com Rams reporter Nick Wagoner is included in this report.
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