Police Union Head Calls NFL Player's Shirt 'Pathetic'
Jeff Follmer says Browns' Andrew Hawkins should apologize for Tamir Rice shirt
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2014 8:47 AM CST
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wears a shirt calling attention to the police shooting of Tamir Rice before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(Newser) – The president of the Cleveland police union is disgruntled at the latest sartorial protest in the shooting deaths of unarmed black individuals by police. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins sported a shirt that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford III" before the Browns' game against the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium, an action that Jeff Follmer called disrespectful, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law," Follmer said in a statement sent to WEWS. "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."

Hawkins emerged wearing the shirt over his jersey, then removed it before the coin toss, ESPN reports. Just one week earlier, Browns' cornerback Johnson Bademosi wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt to protest the death of Eric Garner during practice. Via a statement, the Browns say they "have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players' rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner." Follmer says police often work security at Browns' games and that Hawkins should MYOB. "He should stick to playing football and let us worry about law enforcement," Follmer notes, per the Plain Dealer. (2014's most notable quote: "I Can't Breathe.")