St. Louis Rams apologize to County Police chief...or did they?

There's confusion in St. Louis over whether the St. Louis Rams NFL football team apologized for several of their players entering the field before the game on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders flashing the "hands up" pantomime.  The local police officers association issued a scathing denunciation of the action taken by the Rams players, calling on the team and league to apologiize to law enforcement.

The NFL refused to take any action against the players or apologize.  But Rams vice president Kevin Demoff called the St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, and the chief issued a statement saying that the Rams had apologized.

St. Louis Post Dispatch:

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email Monday night to his staff, alerting them that the executive vice president of football operations for the Rams, Kevin Demoff, had called him to apologize for the actions of several players on the field Sunday. 

Here is the text of the email:

Members of the Department,

I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the "Hands Up" gesture that some players took the field with yesterday.

Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram's organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day. My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.

Thank you for your hard work, ... one night to go. Stay safe.

Belmar

Demoff later issued his own statement denying he apologzied:

Rams vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff, reached late Monday evening by the Post-Dispatch, denied that he issued an apology to the St. Louis County Police Department for the "Hands Up" gesture on Sunday.

"This morning, I had phone conversations with both Chief Dotson and Chief Belmar regarding yesterday's events," Demoff said. "I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players' support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.

"Later in the afternoon I had a positive meeting with Chief Dotson, Jeff Roorda, and Gabe Crocker at St. Louis city police headquarters to discuss with them how the Rams' organization and law enforcement could build upon the positive relationship we already have. We began a good dialogue but recognize there is work to be done to strengthen our relationship.

"In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players' actions. I did say in each conversation that I regretted any offense their officers may have taken. We do believe it is possible to both support our players' First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins the process of healing.

"Chief Belmar's assertion that our conversation was heartfelt is accurate, and I would characterize our conversation as productive. Our organization wants to find ways to use football to bring our community together."

Demoff declined to answer any further questions on the issue.

The fact that Demoff "regretted any offense their officers may have taken" sure sounds like an apology to me.  But unless Demoff wants the next Rams home game to be disrupted by hundreds of demonstrators who don't think he has anything to apologize for, he is better off denying that any apology was offered.

Demoff wants it both ways, and in the end, he's going to get neither.  The officers are still mad, and the protestors aren't convinced.  The disrespect showed by the Rams players toward law enforcement should at least be acknowledged as such by the Rams, and the players who say they weren't taking sides – but actually were – should be fined.

There's confusion in St. Louis over whether the St. Louis Rams NFL football team apologized for several of their players entering the field before the game on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders flashing the "hands up" pantomime.  The local police officers association issued a scathing denunciation of the action taken by the Rams players, calling on the team and league to apologiize to law enforcement.

The NFL refused to take any action against the players or apologize.  But Rams vice president Kevin Demoff called the St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, and the chief issued a statement saying that the Rams had apologized.

St. Louis Post Dispatch:

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email Monday night to his staff, alerting them that the executive vice president of football operations for the Rams, Kevin Demoff, had called him to apologize for the actions of several players on the field Sunday. 

Here is the text of the email:

Members of the Department,

I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the "Hands Up" gesture that some players took the field with yesterday.

Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram's organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day. My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.

Thank you for your hard work, ... one night to go. Stay safe.

Belmar

Demoff later issued his own statement denying he apologzied:

Rams vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff, reached late Monday evening by the Post-Dispatch, denied that he issued an apology to the St. Louis County Police Department for the "Hands Up" gesture on Sunday.

"This morning, I had phone conversations with both Chief Dotson and Chief Belmar regarding yesterday's events," Demoff said. "I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players' support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement.

"Later in the afternoon I had a positive meeting with Chief Dotson, Jeff Roorda, and Gabe Crocker at St. Louis city police headquarters to discuss with them how the Rams' organization and law enforcement could build upon the positive relationship we already have. We began a good dialogue but recognize there is work to be done to strengthen our relationship.

"In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players' actions. I did say in each conversation that I regretted any offense their officers may have taken. We do believe it is possible to both support our players' First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins the process of healing.

"Chief Belmar's assertion that our conversation was heartfelt is accurate, and I would characterize our conversation as productive. Our organization wants to find ways to use football to bring our community together."

Demoff declined to answer any further questions on the issue.

The fact that Demoff "regretted any offense their officers may have taken" sure sounds like an apology to me.  But unless Demoff wants the next Rams home game to be disrupted by hundreds of demonstrators who don't think he has anything to apologize for, he is better off denying that any apology was offered.

Demoff wants it both ways, and in the end, he's going to get neither.  The officers are still mad, and the protestors aren't convinced.  The disrespect showed by the Rams players toward law enforcement should at least be acknowledged as such by the Rams, and the players who say they weren't taking sides – but actually were – should be fined.