The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Redskins secondary puts hands up in pregame introductions, referencing protests in Ferguson, Mo.

(Katherine Frey /The Washington Post)

The starting lineup bounded onto the field for Monday’s preseason game against the Browns, each starter individually announced. The secondary was last, and it came out as one unit, starters and backups alike. They walked with arms folded up, palms open.

The sign of surrender, a gesture not to shoot, has become synonymous with protests in Ferguson, Mo., in the wake of the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer. Though the secondary’s stance wasn’t televised on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast, several fans at FedEx Field took notice and tweeted about it.

“Anytime you get an opportunity to do something like that, it’s something that needs to be discussed, something that you truly need to believe,” veteran safety Ryan Clark said. “That could have been any one of us. That could have been any one of our brothers, our cousins, just anyone.

“We have voices, even though sometimes we don’t like to see it that way, we do have voices. We got the opportunity to do something.”

Second-year safety Phillip Thomas said he was “just going with the program.” Clark said strong safety Brandon Meriweather and cornerback DeAngelo Hall both made the decision to do it, and then asked Clark if he would be interested in participating.

“I was like, ‘Absolutely,’” Clark said. “Everybody was in it. Everybody was together. It was a really good opportunity to make a statement and be more than football players.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

Jason Reid on Jay Gruden’s plans to talk with Robert Griffin III about protecting himself.

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