The five St. Louis Rams players who recently took the “Hands Up, Don’t Shot” stance that has become synonymous with the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Mo. have contributed $10,000 to fund a Christmas party for area residents.
According to FoxSports.com, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens also plan to attend the party on Friday where gloves, hats, socks, underwear, food items and at least 200 coats will be distributed.
Protests have been held in Ferguson and across the nation since late August following the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Several witnesses told police at the time he was fatally wounded Brown had his hands up in the air in a surrendering position. A grand jury later cleared Wilson of all wrongdoing.
“It’s small but it adds up,” Cook said of the $10,000 the players have donated to fund the party for Ferguson residents. “It may save parents a few dollars here or there that they can maybe spend on a child’s toys or other things around the house.”
Added Britt, “we’re just going there because of what’s going on around the country and to show the people in Ferguson we’re not just here to protest, we’re here to help fix the community as well.”
While not considered an official team event, the players appear to have the support of veteran coach Jeff Fisher.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “Guys have done an awful lot over there that does not draw attention, so it makes sense that over the holidays guys would get involved.”
The Urban League estimates that up to 300 people will attend the event and the five players pledge to do even more than donate the $10,000 they have to fund the party for Ferguson residents.
“My kids have to grow up in this country, too,” Britt said. “I hope it’s a better country than I grew up in, and what we’re going through today. Ten or 15 years from now, we don’t want to have the same conversation.”[Photo Credit: Otto Yamamoto]