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Watch: Rams take field with ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ stance

In a show of solidarity with protesters in the aftermath of the events in Ferguson, Mo., five members of the St. Louis Rams took the field Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome with their hands in the air, mimicking the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” stance.

Wide receivers Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt and tight end Jared Cook all took the field with the gesture, which has become a poignant image since Michael Brown’s shooting death in August.

Here’s more from the Associated Press:

“I just think there has to be a change,” tight end Jared Cook said after the Rams’ 52-0 rout over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. “There has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.

“No matter what happened on that day, no matter how the whole situation went down, there has to be a change.”

Coach Jeff Fisher said he’d not been aware the gesture had been planned by the players, all of them black.

Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens then came out and stood together with hands raised in the fog.

Some witnesses said Michael Brown had his hands up before being fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in August. Brown had been unarmed.

“I don’t want the people in the community to feel like we turned a blind eye to it,” Britt said. “What would I like to see happen? Change in America.”

The St. Louis Police Officers Association resoundingly condemned the demonstration before the football game:

The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.

“Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.

[h/t USA Today]