It was not a good weekend for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition to losing two of three games to the cross-state rival Royals, the Cardinals got some unwanted attention when a photo of Fredbird, the team’s official mascot, holding a sign that read, “Police lives matter,” spread across the Internet.
Ron Watermon, the team’s vice president of communications, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a statement Friday that the person in the Fredbird costume didn’t know what was on the sign when he was asked to hold it and pose for a photo during a game last week at Busch Stadium. Watermon also said that Fredbird isn’t intended to be involved in any kind of political activity.
“A man and a woman stopped Fredbird to request a quick photograph,” He said. “While the man was taking the picture, the woman standing next to Fredbird asked him to hold up the sign. Fredbird was unaware of the content of the sign.”
“On Monday, the photograph was posted to the Facebook page of St. Louis Police Officers Association with the woman cropped out of the image.
“When the Cardinals became aware of the photograph on Tuesday, we asked our friends at the police association to take it down, and they graciously accommodated our request.”
Sports website Deadspin published a story Friday titled “Your Racist Uncle Will Love This Picture Of The Cardinals’ Mascot” and implied that the photo was taken at an event hosted by the St. Louis Police Department.
“Black lives matter” started trending in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
“Black lives matter” and “Police lives matter” were used on social media in the Ferguson, Mo., fallout of the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown and the decision not to indict St. Louis Police Officer Darren Wilson.