The five St. Louis Rams players that walked out to their pre-game introductions with the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose inspired more NFL players and professional athletes to show their support for Michael Brown and Eric Garner before last Sunday’s games.
Before yesterday’s football match-ups, Detroit Lions running back, Reggie Bush’s warmup T-shirt had the “I Can’t Breathe” message written on it.
As a high-profile athlete, Bush felt the need to make his voice heard.
“We are afraid to face criticism,” Bush told the Detroit Free Press. “We are afraid that people are going to send negative tweets and write negative comments on our Instagram posts. I’ve always been that guy to sit back and be reserved, to sit back and not get involved in situations like this. I just felt like I do have a voice. It’s OK for me to say how I feel.”
Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi also wore a shirt bearing the popular message symbolizing the lack of an indictment for the police officer who choked Garner to death. Rams offensive lineman Davin Joseph displayed it on his cleats. Chris Baker, lineman for the Washington Redskins, celebrated a sack with the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, The Guardian reported.
The grand jury decisions to not indict either officer in the killing of unarmed Black men sparked protests throughout the nation.
The five Rams players who made their statement on Nov. 30, were applauded by John Carlos, one of the olympic medal winning sprinters from the 1968 Summer Olympics who raised his fist on the medal stand with his teammate Tommie Smith protesting the human rights issues during that time.
The St. Louis Police Officer’s Association said that the Rams apologized for the player’s actions, but the organization denies it. The NFL also stated that they would not penalize the Rams’ players for expressing their views.
In the NBA, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose wore the “I Can’t Breathe”message on his warm up shirt for his game on Saturday.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James applauded Rose’s statement on Sunday.
“I loved it,” he told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’m looking for one.”