Cleveland Browns Receiver Andrew Hawkins: “A Call For Justice Shouldn’t Warrant An Apology”

Cleveland Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt bearing the words “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” — two unarmed Black Cleveland residents who were shot and killed by police — during pre-game interviews on Sunday, prompting Cleveland police officers to demand an apology. The Browns refused, and later, Hawkins spoke with the media at length about his decision to wear the shirt. He said that ultimately, justice means “fair treatment,” continuing, “So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.”

He went on to sympathize with the difficulties of making snap decisions as a police officer, and why that difficulty shouldn’t exonerate them from the consequences of their decisions:

“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.”

He also explained that his two-year-old son is the main reason he decided to speak up:

“As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a two-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.”

The whole statement is worth watching, and you can read a full transcript at ESPN.

[ESPN via Deadspin]

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