The St. Louis Rams aren’t sorry for Sunday’s gesture of solidarity with Ferguson residents, no matter what the police say. The team entered the stadium for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, with hands up in the ‘hands up don’t shoot’ position that has been adopted in Ferguson protests.
The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association responded, with spokesperson Jeff Roorda demanding disciplinary action for the players.
On Monday, the St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email out, telling staff that he’d received a nice apology from Rams COO Kevin Demoff. There’s just one problem: the Rams aren’t sorry, and Demoff says he never apologized.
Speaking to ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner, Demoff made that clear.
"At no time in any of the conversations did I apologize for the actions of our players." — Kevin Demoff to me just a moment ago.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 2, 2014
There was an immediate firestorm of controversy — had the Rams exec apologized, or not? Was the police chief lying, or was the Rams’ Chief Operating Officer misrepresenting things?
The St. Louis Police cleared the controversy late Monday night by withdrawing claims that they’d received an apology. The retraction, on their Facebook page, reads
Chief Belmar was contacted today by St. Louis Rams COO Kevin Demoff. The Chief never asked for anyone from the Rams to contact him. He said the conversation was pleasant. The Chief sent an email to his police staff and used the word “apologized.” Mr. Demoff is quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch story saying “I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players’ support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.” He further stated “I regretted any offense the officer’s may have taken.”
Even though Mr. Demoff stated he never apologized, the Chief believed it to be an apology and the Chief sent the email to police staff to let them know about the call, after he told Mr. Demoff he would share his sentiments with his staff.
Nonetheless, the department followed that statement up on their Twitter account with a post that appears to insist that the expression of regret for the officers’ offense was indeed an apology for the actions of players.
At least one of the players who put on the gesture has responded to the controversy on his own Twitter feed. Stedman Bailey tweeted on Monday, indicating he wasn’t worried about negative opinions about his gesture.
Only God Can Judge Me…. Not worried about nothing else
— STEDMAN BAILEY SR (@iamSB3) December 1, 2014
Whatever the St. Louis Police may say about the gesture, the phone call, and the expression of regret, it’s quite clear: the Rams aren’t sorry for standing with Ferguson.