New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson, who was raised near Ferguson, Mo., said he supports the St. Louis Rams players who did 'hands up, don't shoot' poses last week, the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reports.
Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt took the field with their hands raised and Tre Mason did the gesture after scoring a touchdown. The move was done to protest the decision by a grand jury not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in August. The NFL did not punish the players for the gestures after the St. Louis Police Officers Association criticized the league and players.
Richardson played collegiately at Missouri and his family lives in St. Louis. He said he isn't concerned about potential backlash for voicing his opinion.
From the New York Daily News:
“I’m glad somebody else in the league said something besides me. I’m happy about somebody else taking a stand,” said Richardson.
“The NFL is the NFL. The NFLPA is the players,” Richardson said. “So we have the option to do what we want as long as we’re not throwing up obscene gestures. We’re just protesting peacefully. . . . It’s an opinion. You’re going to agree with it or you’re not. I really don’t give a damn if you agree with me or not. I don’t care if you don’t like me no more or don’t root for me no more. I stand for what I stand for. I’m from St. Louis. I know how people act there. I’m used to it. I’m not going to change who I am because I got a fan base now.”
The Rams players were commended by a black St. Louis police officer group for their protest.
- Paul Palladino