Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins took the field Sunday in a shirt reading "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford III" in a gesture to bring light to officer-involved shootings in Ohio that have happened in the last three months. Now Cleveland Police Patrolman Union President Jeff Follmer is demanding an apology from the Browns for Hawkins' actions on Sunday.
Follmer released a statement to NewsNet5 in Cleveland, directly asking for the organization to address the issue and referencing the police role in security at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."
The statement comes two weeks after police in St. Louis demanded an apology from the Rams after a group of receivers took part in a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture referencing the shooting of Michael Brown during their introductions against the Oakland Raiders in Week 13.
Police in St. Louis claimed the organization apologized to them following that incident, which the team quickly denied. The Browns did not apologize for the shirt worn by Hawkins and supported the receiver in a statement given to NewsChannel 5 in Cleveland:
We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players' rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner.