Players on the Rams made the “Hands up don’t shoot” gesture in support of Ferguson protesters this afternoon, and the St. Louis Police Officers Association has released a statement calling for the players to be punished and for the NFL to issue a “very public apology.” It reads in part, via KSDK:
The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization’s displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, “I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. 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.''
The statement is written in a tone that is not especially optimal for inspiring unity on the subject. It would be shocking if they receive the apology they’re requesting.
UPDATE: Jeff Roorda, the person who issued this statement as spokesperson for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, has a lengthy history of supporting law enforcement as detailed here. He was listed as the vice president of the charity that began fundraising efforts for Darren Wilson soon after the shooting. He was fired as a police officer in Arnold, Missouri for falsifying reports in 2001. He was most recently a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, who did not run again because of term limits. He lost his election bid for a state Senate seat in November.
UPDATE II: The Police Association’s call for discipline will not be enacted by the NFL: