The St. Louis Rams did a little something nice for football players who attend three high schools near Ferguson, Mo. They attempted to provide a little diversion from the violence in their community by giving them free tickets to their Saturday night preseason game against Green Bay.
Robert Klemko of MMQB.com is on the scene the St. Louis suburb, which has been wracked by unrest after the shooting death of Michael Brown last week and filed this report to Peter King:
Watching the violence over Michael Brown’s killing unfold in Ferguson last week, a Rams staffer thought of the high schoolers, specifically, the boys who are supposed to play in their first football game of the season this weekend. Rams manager of fan development & alumni relations Kyle Eversgerd put in a call to coaches at McCluer High, McCluer North and McCluer South; there would be 75 free tickets awaiting each team if they chose to come to Saturday’s preseason game at the Edward Jones Dome.
“In light of everything going on it just kind of hit me,” says Eversgerd, whose job includes outreach with local high schools. “I can’t imagine with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all.”
So as hundreds of protesters faced off with police on the now-infamous West Florissant Avenue on Saturday night in Ferguson, leaving a man critically wounded by gunfire just yards from the homes of area children, the boys from three local teams were at their first NFL game, watching Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford from the 400 level. Said McCluer coach Mario McDonald, “Our kids are focused on this season, but I worry about them out here, to be honest.”
There is, perhaps, more that the Rams and sports people — all people, really — can do, but this is a worthwhile gesture for kids whose neighborhoods have become war zones on several consecutive nights. On a night when they were supposed to be competing and having fun, they got at least some of that experience in a much-deserved respite from a tense situation around their homes.