Andrew Hawkins isn't apologizing for 'Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford' shirt
Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins made a statement this past Sunday against Cincinnati, wearing a shirt that during pre-game warmups and player introductions that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford."
Rice, 12, was fatally shot after officers responded to a call about a young male weilding a gun. It turned out to be an airsoft pellet gun. Crawford, 22, was carrying a toy gun in a Wal-Mart when he was killed by a police officer.
It was a political stand that irked Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer, which retaliated by calling the display "pathetic" and demanding an apology.
If they're looking for Hawkins to apologize, they won't get it.
"That little boy is my world," Hawkins told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "My number one reason for wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little [son] Austin. And that scares the living hell out of me."
It should be noted that athletes that have taken recent public stances in recent weeks aren't protesting each individual police officer that wears the blue uniform. What Hawkins — as well as LeBron James, Reggie Bush and other athletes that have worn "I Can't Breathe" shirts in reference to Eric Garner's case — is doing is protesting individual cases that represent what they see as a recurring problem in the American police and justice system. If a police representative, in this case Follmer, thinks that Hawkins' stance is representative of every single officer on staff, then he's misinformed of the intent.
Follmer also said Hawkins should stick to football and not comment on issues he doesn't know anything about. While Follmer has a first-amendment right to his opinion, Hawkins has the same right to voice his opinion. It's a bad look for a police representative to essentially tell someone to stay in line and not get involved even if the matter affects them at a personal level.
If Hawkins wants to take a stand on an issue and voice his first-amendment rights in a manner the Browns organization think is appropriate, then there's no issue to discuss on that front. The police union may disagree with the stance but by no means are they owed an apology.
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