St. Louis Rams causes protests

Written by Grant Bissel 12/07/14

Holly, Karsten, and Chris

The group burned team gear to show their displeasure for five wide receivers who entered last week's game in the "hands up, don't shoot" pose that's now synonymous with protesters in Ferguson and around the world.

A St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, triggering nightly protests, some violent.

At noon, demonstrators gathered at Gators South in Imperial, Mo., where a number of rallies in support of now-former police officer Wilson have been held. The timing was no coincidence. It was the exact moment the Rams kicked off against the Washington Redskins.

As jerseys and hats burned in a firepit on the bar's patio, now-former Rams fan Larry Magee vented his frustrations.

"Why would you do something like that? It's utterly ridiculous," Magee said. "I think the Rams ought to pack their bags and I'll give them a plane ticket back to L.A."

Cathy Brown came from St. Charles to take part in the demonstration.

"By doing that in uniform you are representing the whole team, and when you are a professional in uniform I think you should keep your personal opinions to yourself," Brown said.

After last week's game wide receivers Kenny Britt and Jared Cook offered an explanation for their actions.

"We just wanted to show the people of St. Louis and Ferguson that the team supports them," Britt said.

"We wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and people that have been doing a heck of a job around the world," Cook added.

The Rams and the NFL have said the players will not be punished. The organizer of the burn party feels it would be a different scenario had the players supported the officer's side.

"If this would have been some players coming out with "I support Darren Wilson' bracelets, or hats, or some symbolic gesture they would have been fined, absolutely. We have no doubt in that," a woman who asked not to be identified said.

Not all fans have turned their back on the team, though. At Weber's Front Row in Arnold, people watch and cheered as the Rams beat the Washington Redskins. While some supported the players' right to demonstrate their feelings, most just wished the players had chosen a more appropriate time and place.

"I'm not sure if a punishment or suspension is necessary," Rams fan Elizabeth Stein said. "But maybe just a quick note saying maybe not the right time or place to have shown your opinion."