The saga over the St. Louis Rams players who raised their hands in a tribute to the Ferguson, Mo., protestors took a strange twist on Monday night.
First came news that a Rams executive reportedly apologized to the St. Louis County Police for the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture five players did before St. Louis’ game against Oakland.
A short time later, the Rams denied that.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had what it said was a copy of an email from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar to his staff.
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Here is part of that email: “I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take 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.”
Not long after that email became public, an ESPN reporter tweeted this:
Demoff went on to tell the Post-Dispatch: “In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players' actions. I did say in each conversation that I regretted any offense their officers may have taken. 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.”
On Sunday, the St. Louis Police Officers Association released a statement saying the Rams and the NFL should apologize.
On Monday, Rams coach Jeff Fisher declined to say much except that it was the players’ choice to “exercise their free speech.” He and the NFL said the players would not be disciplined.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.