ST LOUIS (AFP) – Five NFL players for the St Louis Rams entered the field Sunday with their arms raised in the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture of protesters demanding justice for black teenager Michael Brown.
The pose has been the signature of demonstrators in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, where a white policeman shot Brown dead in August, and by protesters who hit the streets in major US cities in recent days after a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing.
A spokesman for the St Louis Rams told US media that the team had been unaware of the players’ plan, which was quickly condemned by the St Louis Police Officers Association, saying it was “profoundly disappointed.”
Jared Cook, one of the players, said: “We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something.”
“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,” ESPN quoted him as saying.
“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.”
The other players were Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens.