During last Sunday’s Cleveland Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game in Cleveland, Browns WR Andrew Hawkins made headlines when he wore a “Justice for Tamir Rice & John Crawford” shirt. Tamir Rice, who was the 12-year old boy who was shot and killed by a police officer last month after officers say they mistakenly thought the boy was carrying a fire-arm.
Hawkins’ decision caused a lot of controversy as Cleveland police demanded the Browns to take action on Hawkins. Yesterday, Andrew Hawkins talked about his decision to wear the shirt in an emotional press conference. He told reporters that his shirt doesn’t represent that all police officers are bad and that he dearly respects all law enforcement and was taught to do so by his mother:
“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.