NFL will not punish Rams for 'hands up'

Prior to Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, several members of the St. Louis Rams entered the field with hands raised in a symbolic "hands up, don't shoot" gesture used by protestors in nearby Ferguson.

The move drew criticism from the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which called the players' statement "a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory." The association asked for the players to be disciplined and for the NFL to deliver "a very public apology."

No such apology will be forthcoming.

"We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation," Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of communications, said in a statement. In addition, the team will not be fining the players involved.

"We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it," wide receiver Kenny 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."

"We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something," tight end Jared Cook said. "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."

The NFL actively seeks to remain apolitical and minimize individual statements of belief while on the field, but in this instance apparently decided that remaining out of the fray was the more prudent option.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter.

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