ST. LOUIS (AP) — Five St. Louis Rams players stood with their arms raised in an apparent show of solidarity for Ferguson protesters before trotting onto the field for pregame introductions.
A Rams spokesman said Sunday the team was not aware the gesture had been planned before the game against Oakland.
Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens — all of whom are Black — then came out and stood together with arms raised.
After Tre Mason scored on an 8-yard run to make it 45-0 in the fourth quarter, he and Britt raised their hands together.
“Everything about the situation touched me because it could have happened to any of us,” said tight end Jared Cook.
“Any of us are not far from the age of Michael Brown and it happened in our community. I wouldn’t want to be in any one of those guys’ situations that it happened to.”
There have been riots, looting and buildings burned in Ferguson since a grand jury declined Monday to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown in August.
Across the street from the stadium, about 75 protesters gathered in the second half as about 30 police wearing riot gear watched from a safe distance. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot!” ”No Justice, No Football!” ”This is what Democracy looks like,” and “We’re here for Mike Brown.”
The Rams had additional security measures in place for the game, including armed personnel from the National Guard. The team has wanded fans outside entrances all season.
On another front inside the stadium, a group of fans formed letters spelling “Keep the Rams in St. Louis” in seats in the north end zone.
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