The St. Louis County police chief said he received a call Monday from Kevin Demoff, the Rams vice president of football operations, to apologize for the actions of five players that made a statement in support of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. during pregame introductions on Sunday.
Demoff says he did no such thing.
Rams tight end Jared Cook and receivers Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens raised their hands in pregame introductions before their game with the Oakland Raiders. The St. Louis Police Officers Association was “profoundly disappointed” with the gesture made by the Rams players and called for the Rams and the NFL to discipline the players and wanted them to give “a very public apology.”
The NFL said Monday they would not discipline the players involves for the act.
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email Monday night to his staff after receiving what he believed to be an apology from Demoff for the actions of Cook, Britt, Austin, Bailey and Givens on Sunday.
“I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the “Hands Up” gesture that some players took the field with yesterday,” Belmar wrote in the email.
“Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Rams organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day. My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.”
Demoff later told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com that he never apologized for his players’ actions in the discussions with the police departments.
“In those conversations, I expressed regret that players actions were construed negatively against law enforcement,” Demoff said.
“At no time in any of the conversations did I apologize for the actions of our players. [The Rams] do believe it is possible to support both our players’ first amendment rights and the efforts of local law enforcement to make this a better community.”
The St. Louis County Police Department then took to social media to express their views of the conversations.
They also added a post on their facebook page that reads as follows:
“Chief Belmar was contacted today by St. Louis Rams COO Kevin Demoff. The Chief never asked for anyone from the Rams to contact him. He said the conversation was pleasant. The Chief sent an email to his police staff and used the word “apologized.” Mr. Demoff is quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch story saying “I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players’ support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.” He further stated “I regretted any offense the officer’s may have taken.”
Even though Mr. Demoff stated he never apologized, the Chief believed it to be an apology and the Chief sent the email to police staff to let them know about the call, after he told Mr. Demoff he would share his sentiments with his staff.”
Basically it appears that Demoff felt badly over the fact the St. Louis police were offended by the gesture but didn’t apologize for the gesture itself, though that’s exactly how the St. Louis police interpreted the initial conversations with Demoff.
The Rams also released a statement Monday night in which they said they hoped to build on their “strong and valued relationships with local law enforcement.”
“We had positive discussions today with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis County Chief of Police Chief Jon Belmar and representatives from the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association and St. Louis County Police Association during which we expressed our respect for their concerns surrounding yesterday’s game.
“What has transpired over the past four months is a tragedy that has impacted our entire community. Together we are beginning a healing process that will require time, energy and honest dialogue. The Rams will continue to build on what have always been strong and valued relationships with local law enforcement and the greater St. Louis community as we come together to help heal our region.”