July 18, 2016

Since finding himself at the center of a firestorm after an inflammatory Instagram post, Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell is trying to make good.

He offered a public apology for posting an illustration of a police officer getting his throat slit, with his social-media action resulting in Cleveland police threatening to boycott Browns games. Crowell received death threats.

Crowell's apology was met with disdain and described as not sincere, and death threats continued.

He met with Cleveland police officials and showed genuine remorse, those police officials said last week.

Yet still there were some who didn't believe the third-year running back understood the gravity of his post and how his misguided message might reverberate in the black community.

Even though he pledged his first game's paycheck to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, a disconnect remained between law enforcement and the Browns' running back.

Sgt. Demetrick Pennie of the Dallas Police Department said the foundation didn't want Crowell's money.

Instead, the foundation wanted a chance to educate Crowell on the meaning of "police service and sacrifice" and invited him to attend the funeral of Patrick Zamarripa, one of the five slain Dallas police officers.

Crowell, according to Pennie, didn't hesitate and accepted even though it meant walking in the "lion's den."

And after spending eight hours with Crowell, Pennie found the running back to be genuinely remorseful.

"I am confident that the policing community now has a supporter in Mr. Crowell," Pennie wrote in a Facebook post. "Personally, I would like to commend Isaiah Crowell for the courage of principled accountability."

While Crowell was among the thousands who attended the funeral Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, it was his meeting with law enforcement officers after that left a lasting impression.

After meeting Crowell, Pennie wrote: "(Crowell) met with high-ranking police and political officials in the State including Texas Police Commissioner Rob Kyker. He also attended the funeral of slain Dallas Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa and paid his respects to the Fallen Officer. During the visit, he met with several police officers from across the country, who expressed their appreciation for him seeking forgiveness for his actions and having the courage to admit that he was wrong and making an attempt to redress the problem."

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