On Monday, an athlete whose moment of protest is one of the most famous in sports, took a moment to praise five member of the St. Louis Rams, who raised their arms Sunday in silent protest of a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“How about those Rams?,” John Carlos, who along with Tommie Smith raised a gloved fist for human rights awareness in the 1968 Olympics, told Dave Zirin of The Nation. “They may be under contract to play football, but greater than that, they have a right to care about humanityThey have the right to feel whether something is just or unjust. They are entitled to their opinions, most centrally that Michael Brown’s life should not have been taken. Asking them to just ‘shut up and play’ is like asking a human being to be paint on the wall. They have the right to say what they feel in their heart.
“A lot more athletes need to step up and speak up as well. These atrocities have been going on and we are saying enough is enough. I remember saying in 1968, you think I’m bad, just wait until this new generation comes out. I feel like that new generation is here at last.”
Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens came out of the tunnel during pregame introductions with their arms raised in a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. Running back Tre Mason did the same after scoring a touchdown. Like Carlos, the Rams players faced heat for their protest, with a St. Louis police group calling for the NFL and team to punish them. The NFL said it would not.
Britt also posted a photo on Instagram of his taped arms and wrote that “this game was dedicated to #Mike Brown, his family and the community of #Ferguson. #WeStandWithYou #MikeBrown #MyKidsMatter #HornsUp.”