Home Tasteless, indeed: St. Louis police try to silence football players?

Tasteless, indeed: St. Louis police try to silence football players?


nflCops have First Amendment rights. So do football players, among the rest of us, but cops in St. Louis don’t like it when football players, and the rest of us, engage our First Amendment rights, and otherwise our more basic instincts to free expression.

“The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology,” reads a statement from the St. Louis Police Officers Association business manager Jeff Roorda, helping bring attention to a gesture of solidarity with police shooting victim Michael Brown from a group of St. Louis Rams players in the pregame introductions before their game on Sunday.

Roorda, a former cop who reprimanded in a 1997 case in which he had been accused of filing a false report to cover for another officer in a case involving a suspect’s apprehension and arrest and then terminated after another incident in 2001 in which he was alleged to have falsified an account of an argument with a superior officer, had the cojones in the statement to cite the reams of evidence presented to the grand jury in the Michael Brown case that critics have said were thrown out to jury members to intentionally obfuscate the case against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who was ultimately not indicted for pulling the trigger.

Put more succinctly: a former cop who is no longer a cop because he made stuff up wants football players who don’t buy that another cop shouldn’t be held responsible for shooting an unarmed teen because of a prosecution that feels like a cover-up to be disciplined for saying so with their outraised arms.

It escapes Roorda’s ability to process irony that were the NFL to discipline the players, which won’t happen, according to a league spokesman, whatever discipline the league would have meted out for the gesture would outpace the absence of discipline that Wilson will get for shooting the unarmed black teenager.

More from Roorda, who has been given scads of live mic time by cnn in the past two weeks:

“I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.”

Good for Roorda using his human right to self-expression to turn a gesture of solidarity by football players supporting the protection of basic civil rights from government intrusion into a minstrel show that cops acting as agents of the government will make every effort using the powers afforded them by their official government badges to shut down.

Can’t make this stuff up, folks.

– Column by Chris Graham



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.