The St. Louis Rams organization donated an unspecified amount of money to The Backstoppers, an organization which helps families of police officers, paramedics and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty.
The gesture in and of itself is awesome. No one in their right mind would criticize the donation in a vacuum.
However, this gesture, as great as it might be, could be seen as a way for the Rams to apologize for the actions of five players who entered the field against the Oakland Raiders late last month using the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose that has come to define protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in recent months. Both men were unarmed when they were killed by police officers.
There was some controversy following the incident, especially when some reports indicated that the Rams themselves apologized to the St. Louis Police Department. The Rams have since denied said reports.
That controversy took on a life of its own when the St. Louis Police Officers Association condemned the Rams players involved in the protest.
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 the racially charged climate that we see today, the Rams find themselves in an awkward position. They rely on local law enforcement to provide security for games and the players. They also can’t been seen supporting local authorities while questioning the free speech that is embedded within American society.