St. Louis Police Say Rams Apologized for ‘Hands Up’ Gesture; Team Denies It

By
Image
Photo: L.G. Patterson/Corbis

The St. Louis Police Department has stopped fighting with the Rams over their players’ show of solidarity with the Ferguson protesters … and they’ve moved on to bickering over whether team officials said they’re sorry. Police demanded an apology after five receivers walked onto the field Sunday night making the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose, and they said they got one on Monday. “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,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar wrote in an email. Demoff countered that while he told police officials he “regretted” that they were offended, “In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players’ actions.”

Here’s the email Belmar sent to his staff, which was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Members of the Department,

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.

Thank you for your hard work, … one night to go. Stay safe.

Later, the paper updated with a statement from Demoff, the Rams’ executive vice-president of football operations, in which he said he met with various police officials and said he “felt badly that our players’ support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.” He added:

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.

Chief Belmar’s assertion that our conversation was heartfelt is accurate, and I would characterize our conversation as productive. Our organization wants to find ways to use football to bring our community together.

The St. Louis County police elaborated further in a Facebook post, saying, “Even though Mr. Demoff stated he never apologized, the Chief believed it to be an apology,” and shared that sentiment with his staff.

And thus, the two sides settled their misunderstanding. Then about eight minutes later, the St. Louis County Police Department sent out this sassy tweet: