Rams tight end Jared Cook, other Rams made "hands up, don't shoot" gesture Sunday
Cook says he intended no disrespect to police
He also says he has received hateful messages and threats on Facebook
Even though he has received threats, St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook stressed Wednesday that he did not intend disrespect toward police when he and other Rams players made the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Cook acknowledged to reporters Wednesday that he has received hateful messages on Facebook.
“Well, I mean that’s how people choose to operate their lives,” Cook said. “I feel like as men, just like me and you, are communicating right now, and just like me and you are talking right now, we should be able to sit down and talk about our problems. There is no reason to send threats or to hype up a situation that’s already intensified. We can sit down and talk about our problems. If we can’t, then let’s just agree to disagree. There’s no wrong in that. People have different opinions. People have different views. We’re grown.”
Black St. Louis police officers: ‘Hands up’ gesture by Rams players ‘commendable’
When asked if he had received a lot of threats, Cook answered, “Absolutely.”
The gesture that Cook and teammates Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt made when taking the field Sunday is the same one protesters have used to decry the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.
That angered the St. Louis Police Officers Association, saying the players “chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury” after the jurors decided not to indict former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson.
But Cook said Wednesday they respect police.
“Why would we come at the police in a disrespectful way when we work with the police in the community all of the time?” Cook said. “The police are up here every day. There were four police cars here this morning when I pulled into work. The police have picnics during the summer in our parking lot where they bring their kids and children to meet and greet and have fun with us. So why would I disrespect a group of men that we have complete respect for in the community that helps us every day?”
Cook said their action was an example of a peaceful protest.
” ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ is not just a Ferguson thing,” Cook said. “It’s a worldwide thing. People are doing it in New York. People are doing it in Florida. People are doing it on the West Coast. It’s not just about Ferguson. It’s a message worldwide that for young adults that you can protest and you can do things peacefully without getting out of line.”
The NFL said earlier this week that the players won’t be disciplined.
CNN’s Holly Yan contributed to this report.