As athletes continue to wear protest shirts, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore one that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford" at the beginning of the football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in Cleveland. Now, the Cleveland police want an apology from the athlete and his team, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.
“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Jeff Follmer, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said in a statement to WEWS. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland police protect and serve the Browns stadium, and the Browns organization owes us an apology.
“He's disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision,” Follmer continued, according to Cleveland.com. "He's an athlete. He's someone with no facts of the case whatsoever.” The police union leader added: “He should stick to playing football and let us worry about law enforcement. The players don't know what our job entails. Don't judge us by what you're reading in the media.”
Rice, 12, was fatally shot by a white Cleveland officer as he held a toy gun, and Crawford was fatally shot after he waved an air gun in front of a Walmart store, USA Today wrote. Both victims were unarmed and black.
Wearing protest shirts and making hand gestures became popular in the professional sports world after the police officers in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases were not indicted by a grand jury. Football and basketball players alike have worn shirts that read, “I can’t breathe,” a popular credo among Garner supports, or held their arms above their head to demonstrate, “hands up, don’t shoot,” a popular chant for Brown protesters.
Before Hawkins, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James wore an “I can’t breathe” shirt at the same game that Prince William and Kate Middleton attended at the Barclays Center during their trip to New York.
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