A dispute has risen over whether the Rams have apologized for last Sunday’s “hands up” stunt. On the one hand, the St. Louis Police Chief says the team apologized. On the other hand, the team’s VP says no apology was issued.
A Rams representative who maintains that he told the cops that he “felt badly” and “regretted” the offense taken says he didn’t apologize for the actions of Rams players. The police disagree. The two St. Louis institutions now maintain public silence over the dispute, agreeing, apparently, to disagree.
After a phone meeting with the Rams administration, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email to his officers claiming that the Rams had apologized to him for the “hands up” stunt.
In his email, Chief Belmar said that Rams vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff had taken the “opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the “Hands Up” gesture that some players took the field with yesterday.”
However, VP Demoff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that this was absolutely not true. The Rams did not apologize to the officers for the players’ Sunday stunt.
After noting that he had spoken several times to the police officers, Demoff said, “In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players’ actions.”
Demoff held, “We do believe it is possible to both support our players’ First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins the process of healing.”
“Chief Belmar’s assertion that our conversation was heartfelt is accurate,” Demoff added, “and I would characterize our conversation as productive. Our organization wants to find ways to use football to bring our community together.”
During last Sunday’s NFL game, five members of the St. Louis Rams took the field employing the “hands up” stance popular among protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. A sixth player, Tre Mason, struck the pose after scoring a touchdown.
The five pregame posing players, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt, all took the field with their hands up and later claimed they were showing their support for protesters who are upset that a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict a white Ferguson police officer for shooting a black teenager early in August.
Immediately local police agencies and union representatives demanded the Rams apologize for the stunt and made calls for the league to punish the players involved.
Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, for instance, told Breitbart Sports that the “hands up” pose by St. Louis Rams players in solidarity with a “criminal” who assaulted a policeman had angered his membership and the NFL’s refusal to punish the players making the on-field demonstrations showed hypocrisy by the league.
Canterbury demanded that the Rams apologize for the incident and said the NFL should punish the players.
The St. Louis Police Officer’s Association also called for the NFL to discipline the five members of the Rams for their stunt.
Since the game, though, both the Rams and the league have said that no disciplinary action is going to be taken against the five players.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org