"Andrew Hawkins: I won't apologize"



Browns Player Offers Thoughtful Rebuke After Police Union Slams T-Shirt Protest

AP Photo / Bill Wippert


"I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do," Hawkins said. "If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that."

Below is his statement in full:

“I was taught that justice is a right that every American should have. Also justice should be the goal of every American. I think that’s what makes this country. To me, justice means the innocent should be found innocent. It means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment. Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.


“To clarify, I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way. And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. My mom taught me my entire life to respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends that are incredible police officers and I tell them all the time how they are much braver than me for it. So my wearing a T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department. My wearing the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people.

“Unfortunately, my mom also taught me just as there are good police officers, there are some not-so-good police officers that would assume the worst of me without knowing anything about me for reasons I can’t control. She taught me to be careful and be on the lookout for those not-so-good police officers because they could potentially do me harm and most times without consequences. Those are the police officers that should be offended.

“Being a police officer takes bravery. And I understand that they’re put in difficult positions and have to make those snap decisions. As a football player, I know a little bit about snap decisions, obviously on an extremely lesser and non-comparative scale, because when a police officer makes a snap decision, it’s literally a matter of life and death. That’s hard a situation to be in. But if the wrong decision is made, based on pre-conceived notions or the wrong motives, I believe there should be consequence. Because without consequence, naturally the magnitude of the snap decisions is lessened, whether consciously or unconsciously.

“I’m not an activist, in any way, shape or form. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I keep my opinions to myself on most matters. I worked extremely hard to build and keep my reputation especially here in Ohio, and by most accounts I’ve done a solid job of decently building a good name. Before I made the decision to wear the T-shirt, I understood I was putting that reputation in jeopardy to some of those people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with my perspective. I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do. If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that. God wouldn’t be able to put me where I am today, as far as I’ve come in life, if I was a coward.

“As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. The same 2-year-old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the No. 1 reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality.

“So, like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt. I felt like my heart was in the right place. I’m at peace with it and those that disagree with me, this is America, everyone has the right to their first amendment rights. Those who support me, I appreciate your support. But at the same time, support the causes and the people and the injustices that you feel strongly about. Stand up for them. Speak up for them. No matter what it is because that’s what America’s about and that’s what this country was founded on.”

Original Post

Well said Andrew Hawkins....

2014 and we are still dealing with ridiculous racism and watching this country going against every virtuous axiom the US claims it cherishes such as "All men are created equal"


"Equal justice under law" is a phrase engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.


*Another one of my favorite Investigative reporter/writers*


Andrew Hawkins
Racism has a hard time hiding.

People love to deny its very existence, but it just has a way of telling on itself. Those who harbor prejudice on the inside eventually can't help but let it out in a way, so ugly and toxic, that you soon wonder how they kept it disguised for as long as they had.


The leaked emails from Sony come to mind.

While the overwhelming majority of African Americans see some level of racial discrimination and devaluing of black life in the police murders of unarmed men like Akai Gurley, Kendrec McDade, and Eric Garner, it's become far too easy for police (and society) to deny race played even a small role in any of these homicides.


In essence, unless the police are recorded using the "n-word" or secretly walking out of a Klan meeting, they can effectively deny they have a racist bone in their body, but that's not really how the new racism works in 2014. Racial slurs and Klan meetings are used less, but some reputable polls show the majority of Americans still hold some level of racist views against African Americans. Yet we're expected to believe that those racist views are somehow never held by police and never play any role in the deaths of African Americans they kill by the hundreds year in and year out.


Like a leaking pen in the pocket of a white dress shirt, private racism just has a way of bleeding out into the public and making a mess of itself eventually. Few things smack of leaky-pen racism more than the police unions of Cleveland and St. Louis recently demanding apologies from athletes and sports franchises for wearing T-shirts showing solidarity with families of victims of police violence.


Follow below the fold for more.


Within hours of Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins coming out to his pre-game warm up with a T-shirt stating "Justice for Tamir Rice & John Crawford," Jeff Follman, president of the Cleveland Police Union, issued a statement so incendiary that it was hard to believe. Speaking to the local Cleveland ABC affiliate, Follman said:


It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. 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.
Follman, speaking to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, went on to say:

He's an athlete. He's someone with no facts of the case whatsoever. He's disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision. He should stick to playing football and let us worry about law enforcement. The players don't know what our job entails. Don't judge us by what you're reading in the media.
Let's dissect these statements line by line.

"It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law."

First off, wearing a T-shirt stating "Justice for Tamir Rice & John Crawford" isn't a declaration of knowing the law as much as it is a statement of support and solidarity for two families who lost cherished loved ones. Tamir was his mother's youngest son and John was a young father of two, a beloved boyfriend, and the only son of his parents as well. Neither Tamir or John broke the law but both paid the harshest price possible at the hands of police.

Secondly, Andrew Hawkins, the player who wore the shirt, is an educated man who went to college for four years in Ohio, and played several seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals before moving up north to play for the Browns. The inference here is that Andrew, and other athletes, are somehow unable to know the law, that it is beyond their comprehension and that they are pathetic for thinking otherwise. In essence, Follman made it clear that he felt he was superior to NFL athletes from the very first words he uttered.

Lastly, why did Follman use the word pathetic in his statement to the press except to enflame tensions and be insulting?



"They should stick to what they know best on the field."

Again, another unnecessary insult from Follman in which he basically states that athletes are one-dimensional humans who should shut up and play ball. Mind you, again, that Hawkins wore a very tame T-shirt showing solidarity with the family. It didn't say "Fuck the police" or "Cop Killer" on it, but just had the names of two young victims of police violence. It's hard not to hear racial undertones when a white man in authority tells a black man who stood up to stick to the field.


What Follman is also completely failing to understand is that African Americans have reluctantly become experts at all things related to police violence, ranging from how to avoid it, how to record and report it, and where it's happening all over the country. Fifteen years ago most African Americans could only name one victim of police violence—Rodney King—but today that list is long and backed my narrative details.


"The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."


First off, they are paid to do this. The police work for the Browns and for the people and are paid to do it. Working for the Browns is a privilege and doesn't mean that the team or the players, because they've hired the Cleveland Police to do security, somehow then forfeit their right to stand up against injustice.

Secondly, the Cleveland Police Department was just cited for widespread abuse in a report from the Justice Department and is having oversight placed on it as a result. This is, sadly, the second time in 10 years they've been faced with such a designation.


Lastly, Timothy Loehman, the officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice, should've never been hired by the Cleveland PD in the first place. His performance records suggested he was never fit for duty.


Now, let's deal with one final statement made by Follman because it's an increasingly common refrain made not only by police but by their sympathizers.

"He's someone with no facts of the case whatsoever."

Whether Follman was speaking about the shooting death of Tamir Rice or John Crawford, the bottom line is this: scores and scores of facts are known. This notion that Hawkins or the public have "no facts of the case whatsoever" is ludicrous.


Every detail in the shooting death of John Crawford has been released and his death was filmed on security camera.

Regarding Tamir Rice, we see him shot and killed within two seconds of the police pulling up. We've heard the 911 call that stated the gun was probably a fake and Tamir looked like a kid. We've learned that Timothy Loehman was unfit to be an officer. We learned that they left Tamir there to die and put his sister in handcuffs.


To say that no facts are known is bullshit personified. It's precisely because so many awful facts are known that Andrew Hawkins felt the need to wear that T-shirt in the first place. It's precisely because so many awful facts are known about the Cleveland Police Department that men like him and protestors all over the country and the world feel like they must speak out and speak up for justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford.


A 12-year-old boy and a young father were killed in Ohio by police. Neither were breaking laws when they were killed. Everything about their deaths is tragic. Their families are grieving and the community is outraged. Instead of showing a level of support or shared grief, what the Cleveland Police Department has shown is that they don't really have any true remorse whatsoever. By attempting to publicly shame Andrew Hawkins for standing with these families, what the police union has actually done is show its true colors.


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