If you watch the news, you've probably seen or at least heard about the pre-game display that a few of the St. Louis Rams football players put on when walking out of the tunnel on Sunday before they, the Rams of St. Louis put an otherworldly ass whippin' on the Raiders of Oakland. Five players - Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Kenny Britt - did the now famous "hands up, don't shoot" pose that's been a lynchpin of the protests happening in Ferguson (and around the country) in response to the shooting death of Mike Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson.
And because the police as an institution is not as nice as potential police officer the individual human being (such as the case of young Devonte Hart and Officer Bret Barnum of the Portland Police Department...you've all seen the picture by now) the St. Louis Police Officers Association has asked that the league punish the players involved for effectively bringing the protests into the NFL. Since Darren Wilson has been cleared by the grand jury, it would seem that, at least in the eyes of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, people need to chill the fuck out and stop pushing this narrative of a young Black kid being killed for no reason.
Let me say this.
Everybody has read the testimony of Darren Wilson at this point, or at least I'm assuming a significant number of people have. His testimony was some of the most non-sensical bull malarkey I've read in quite some time. It doesn't even SOUND realistic or believable. Part of the reason I've been so hesitant to even write about it is because of my own personal level of frustration. Either way, in the eyes of the law, and law enforcement, the belief is that justice is fair and always served by the process. As Black people, one thing that we are blatantly aware of is that the system has rarely worked out for us when it can go either way. It always feels rigged.
Sure, tons of Black men are in jail for doing shit that they shouldn't have done. I won't pretend like EVERY single Black prisoner is a political one. But when there are EGREGIOUS actions, when there are so many names of Black males killed by those given the authority to protect, especially historically, its really unfair for anybody to expect Black people to trust a process that was never really intended for us in the first place. I realize I'm preaching to the choir, but I truly find it hard to understand why the system, and really mostly white people, don't seem to get why Black folks are so fucking fed up and exhausted. It's hard to compete fairly in a race when the folks holding the track meet give you the wrong time to show up. White people love them some rights. How the fuck come they don't seem to care about the rights of others that much? Shit's tiring.
It's tiring as fuck being exhausted.
Back to the SLPOA and their lunacy. They dropped this statement (printed in its entirety below):
"St. Louis, Missouri (November 30, 2014) – The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.
"Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the "hands-up-don't-shoot" pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.
"SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda said, "now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson's account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again."
"Roorda was incensed that the Rams and the NFL would tolerate such behavior and called it remarkably hypocritical. "All week long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be kept safe from the violent protesters who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson. Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week, they had days off including Thanksgiving cancelled so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer and then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis's finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance," Roorda said.
"The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization's displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, "I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I've got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser's products. It's cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters."
Do you know why I REALLY hate institutions that have proven to not give a shit about Black people, or even poor people? Shit like that. You want these niggas to have to apologize for giving a shit? How many Black men has the Innocence Project gotten exonerated and the damn DA that locked them up STILL refuses to apologize or acknowledge that they got the wrong guy. Those people were WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED for decades at times and its like, whatever. You want people to apologize for having a heart and caring about an issue that affects their community and using the biggest platform possible - an NFL football game - to do…something? I applaud them taking that stand. And it looks like the NFL won't fine them so it's a win all around. These guys are Black males first and everything that's happened and that we've seen directly impacts them as men and as members of the Black community. I'm proud of them.
Cops are offended? Take a number and head to the back of the line.
Fuck the system. Fuck their evidence.
And fuck the St. Louis Police Officers Association with my whole heart. And fuck everything they believe in.