Justice Sports

Police Unions: Players Should Shut Up and Play Ball


The shirt worn by wide receiver Andrew Hawkins of the Cleveland Browns before yesterday’s game has drawn the ire of the Cleveland Police Patrolman Union which, evidently, has no sense of shame.

It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Jeff Follman, the president of the Police Patrolman Union in Cleveland, said in a statement to Cleveland news station newsnet5. “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.”

He’s an athlete. He’s someone with no facts of the case whatsoever,” Follmer said later, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “He’s disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision.

The only thing the union president gets right is the “split-second decision” the officer who killed Tamir Rice made. Tamir rice, a 12-year old boy, was gunned down literally two seconds after officers arrived at the playground.

From where I’m sitting, the union’s dismissal of Hawkins as just “an athlete” who should stick to playing football is, for all intents and purposes, another way of calling him uppity.

At the very least, the union is saying that Hawkins and his fellow players should ignore the injustice of the world around them, a world that many of them grew up in, and simply entertain us each Sunday.

‘Play football and shut up’ is the message.

Between this and other, similar cases, I’m just about done with police unions.

Police unions in St Louis and New York City have also issued callous and dismissive statements that come very close to violating the First Amendment, demanding that players apologize for exercising their rights. In New York City, the union is even demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio be barred from attending funerals for police officers.

As you may recall, the Department of Justice released the findings of their Pattern or Practice investigation of the Cleveland Police Department last week and the report clearly showed the CPD is an embarrassment. The arrogance and audacity of the union’s statement so soon after the release of that report is amazing.

Don’t be surprised if I give no fucks the next time a police union finds itself the target of penny-pinching legislators. Why should anyone stand up for them after they show they have nothing but contempt for the people they supposedly serve? This sacred goose is cooked.

(photo: Getty)