St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook said Thursday he has received threats since he and four teammates took the field Sunday in a “hands up” gesture to express solidarity with demonstrators protesting the grand jury decision in the police shooting death of Michael Brown.
Asked during a news conference whether he had received a lot of threats, Cook responded, “absolutely,” and indicated he did not have a sense of how seriously they should be taken.
“It’s all on the computer,” he said. “I mean, how can you really tell if somebody’s typing keys, you know?”
Cook, who delivered the gesture along with Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens ahead of the Rams’ 52-0 home win over the Oakland Raiders in St. Louis, said he had no regrets about it and described the action as a “perfect example of a peaceful protest.”
“If anything should have been said about it by anybody, it should have been an example of a way to peacefully protest and peacefully get your point across with tearing up a neighborhood.”
The gesture has become a symbol of a national movement expressing frustration with the decision not to indict the white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Brown, a black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri.
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“It’s not just about Ferguson,” Cook said. “It’s a message worldwide that for young adults and for everybody that you can protest and you can do things peacefully without getting out of line.”
The St. Louis Police Officers Association has objected to the Rams’ gesture, saying it was “offensive and inflammatory.” Cook insisted that no disrespect was intended toward to police.
The NFL has indicated it would not discipline the players in connection with the controversial gesture.