Jared Cook discusses Rams players' decision to make Ferguson statement
St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook has no regrets about him and four teammates making a gesture in support of protestors in Ferguson, Mo.
Cook, Stedman Baiey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt participated in the gesture Sunday.
"'Hands up, don't shoot' is not just a Ferguson thing," Cook said. "It's a worldwide thing. People are doing it in New York, people are doing it in Florida, people are doing it on the West Coast. It's not just about Ferguson. It's a message worldwide that for young adults that you can protest and you can do things peacefully without getting out of line."
They were criticized by the St. Louis Police Association for the gesture.
"We really didn't think it was going to be as big as it's being portrayed," Cook said. "It's something that we wanted to do for the people in Ferguson and around the world that are protesting peacefully and doing things in the community right to help bring Ferguson back and the communities around the world to help raise awareness and help build their communities up.
"It's about building young men. Think about it; what real role models do we have nowadays? Young men are looking around for guidance and looking for people to look up to, and they have none. So why not be the voice and start here in the community when something so serious is going on 8 miles up the road?"
Cook said he received violent threats through social media.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher talked with Cook and his teammates about the matter.
"I understand that," Cook said. "They have to understand that we are ambassadors for them as well as other parts of St. Louis. As Rams and as the NFL, what we do is we represent everybody. We bring people together for a common goal.
"How could you not want to have fun and enjoy that? For me, it's sad, but at the same time, we have got four games left. There are many opportunities for us to make this into a positive thing and not be a negative thing. But for the Rams fans out there that want to give up their [personal seat licenses], I wouldn't do that just yet."
The Ethical Society of Police, a union of black police officers in St. Louis, released a statement: "We think that their actions were commendable and that they should not be ridiculed, disciplined or punished for taking a stand on this very important issue which is of great concern around the world and especially in the community where these players work."
Cook was touched by the statement.
"That's pretty amazing," Cook said. "That shows a lot of character, and it shows a lot of maturity. That shows that for guys like that to come out and issue a statement, those are people you can work with and those are people that you can make your community better with. It's not about fighting each other. It's not about wrong and right. It's about treating people with respect. You can operate with respect without having to come at somebody in a negative way. Like I said before, you can agree to disagree on a situation and just walk away, let it be done."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun