On Sunday, five players for the St. Louis Rams ran onto the field with their hands in the air, assuming the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that has become an icon of the Ferguson protests. The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) was livid, and publicized a statement condemning the actions of the players. Now, the NFL and the SLPOA are squabbling over an alleged apology.
On Monday night, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar emailed his staff, letting them know that Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of operations for the Rams, had called to apologize for the actions of the players.
"I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the 'Hands Up' gesture that some players took the field with yesterday," Belmar wrote, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram's [sic] organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day."
But the Rams are denying that such a conversation ever happened.
Rams spokesman Artis Twyman told CNN, "We did not apologize." Rather, they had a conversation with Belmar and other representatives "during which we expressed our respect for their concerns surrounding yesterday's game."
This did not make the police department happy, so they responded:
Which won the scorn of the Internet:
CNN's Holly Yan reported on the meetings:
Aside from the semantics of the phone call, leaders from the St. Louis Police Officers Association and the St. Louis County Police Association met with team officials Monday.
The talks were "productive but very preliminary," police said. They are expected to continue later in the week.
"We made some progress today and we had a healthy interaction with the Rams," SLPOA business manager Jeff Roorda said in a statement after the meeting.
"We feel strongly that they better understand our perspective and the perspective of the law-abiding citizens that support law enforcement."...
The SLPOA had called for the five Rams to be disciplined, but both the NFL and the team's head coach said that won't happen.
"They are exercising their right to free speech," Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said.
The Rams also released a statement, promising that the team will "continue to build on what have always been strong and valued relationships with local law enforcement and the greater St. Louis community as we come together to help heal our region."