Before the St. Louis Rams would destroy the Oakland Raiders 52-0 on Sunday at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, they wanted protesters in Ferguson, Mo., and all around the world to know that they stood in solidarity with them.
Five St. Louis Rams players emerged from the tunnel during pregame introductions and stood with their hands raised, a nod to the "Hands up, don't shoot" chant picked up by protesters since witnesses reported that unarmed teen Michael Brown had his hands raised before he was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
"We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something," tight end Jared Cook told ESPN after the game. "We haven't been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it's kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything. So we wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and the people who have been doing a heck of a job around the world."
Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together with their hands held high. Cook and fellow receivers Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens joined them with their hands raised.
A Rams spokesman told the Associated Press Sunday that team officials were not aware that players were planning the symbolic gesture before the game. Across the street from the stadium, some 75 protesters gathered, shouting, "Hands up, don't shoot!" and ''No justice, no football!"
After scoring an 8-yard run, running back Tre Mason joined the fray, meeting up with Britt in the end zone, where they raised their hands together.
"We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it," Britt said. "That's what we hope we can make happen. That's our community. We wanted to let the community know that we support the community."