Police union slams Andrew Hawkins protest shirt, calls receiver 'pathetic'

Cleveland Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins made a statement Sunday when he wore a t-shirt during pre-game warmups protesting the deaths of Tamir Rice and John Crawford, both in Ohio.

The black t-shirt read: “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford.” Hawkins wore the shirt over his jersey and pads.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association responded by slamming the football player.

It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” said Jeffrey Follmer, president of the association, in a statement. “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.

Fellow Browns player Johnson Bademosi was also in the news recently for protesting by wearing an “I can’t breathe” shirt and explaining his decision to wear the shirt in an editorial for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.

The Browns put out the following statement in response to Follmer’s complaint:

We 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.