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WATCH: Andrew Hawkins Responds to Police

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What happened to freedom of speech?

Following in the footsteps of the St. Louis Police Association, the Cleveland Police Union is demanding an apology after Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt over his game-day jersey on Sunday that read “Justice for Tamir Rice – John Crawford.”

According to newsnet5 in Cleveland, police patrolman union president Jeff Folmer sent the news station the following statement:

“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.”

Oh, is that right? And I suppose the players shouldn’t have any opinions or thoughts outside of football either, Mr. Folmer? Looks like you’re the pathetic one here, officer.

Hawkins, along with the St. Louis Rams players who staged a (peaceful) “hands up, don’t shoot” protest after the non-indictment of the officer accused of killing Eric Garner, are allowed to express their beliefs–both on the field and off.

The wide receiver had this to say about the police union’s reaction:

Several NBA players also came under fire for their protests in wearing T-shirts that stated “I can’t breathe.”

Would we prefer that these athletes don’t use their platform for a higher cause? It seems like they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

I, for one, appreciate seeing athletes and celebrities using their voice to make a difference and taking a stand.