St. Louis County Police Chief and Rams VP Differ on Apology for Players' "Hands Up" Gesture

By Jason Lisk
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Yesterday, the spokesperson for the St. Louis Police Officers Association demanded that the Rams players who participated in the “Hands Up” Gesture in support of Ferguson protesters be punished. The team and the league both stated that there would be no punishment for the players expressing their views. But, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the vice president of football operations, Kevin Demoff, offered an apology for the actions.

This comes from a memo from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sent to his staff on Monday evening, cited by the Post-Dispatch:

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.

Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram’s organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day. My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.

However, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN, Demoff denies ever apologizing for the players’ actions, and disputes the nature of any construed apology.

My take–and I was suspicious of this before the Demoff statements came out since the original report had no quote or confirmation from him–is that this is an “I’m sorry you feel that way and were upset” situation that was then taken as an apology.

UPDATE: Here is the statement posted to Facebook by St. Louis County PD:

Regarding statements on an “apology” from Rams COO Kevin Demoff:

Chief Belmar was contacted today by St. Louis Rams COO Kevin Demoff. The Chief never asked for anyone from the Rams to contact him. He said the conversation was pleasant. The Chief sent an email to his police staff and used the word “apologized.” Mr. Demoff is quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch story saying “I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players’ support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.” He further stated “I regretted any offense the officer’s may have taken.”

Even though Mr. Demoff stated he never apologized, the Chief believed it to be an apology and the Chief sent the email to police staff to let them know about the call, after he told Mr. Demoff he would share his sentiments with his staff.

I will also just leave this here without comment.

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