After the recent protests and violence surrounding the deaths of both Eric Garner and Michael Brown, professional football players voiced their support without even speaking. Five St. Louis Rams players made a statement by using the pregame introductions to show the protests taking place in Ferguson, Missouri. The players raised their hands up as they neared the end of the tunnel in a nod to Michael Brown’s death.
“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,” one of the players, Jared Cook said. Although the players stated that they weren’t taking sides through their actions, the St. Louis Police Officers Association called for the five players to be disciplined and for their entire team and the National Football League (NFL) to issue a public apology. “We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation,” the NFL’s Vice President of Communications, Brian McCarthy, said.
Just a week after their “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” statement, several Rams players made another by writing the slogan “I Can’t Breathe” on their wrist tape and cleats. The phrase refers to the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old man who died in New York after police officers illegally used a chokehold, resulting in Garner’s death. Garner’s last words were “I can’t breathe”.
Along with the Rams players, DeSean Jackson (Washington Redskins), Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions), and Johnson Bademosi (Cleveland Browns) all participated in honoring Garner by writing the same words on their cleats and warm-up shirts. “I feel like we should support what we feel is right. We should always have an opinion of sticking up for people who don’t have a voice,” Rams player, Davin Joseph tweeted along with a picture of “R.I.P. Eric Garner” written on his cleats.
Annabelle Dunbar, Staff Writer
Sophomore Annabelle Dunbar is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She is on the cheer leading team and writes her own films.