ST. LOUIS — Demonstrators gathered Tuesday night outside of a sports bar that disavowed the St. Louis Rams after a few players on Sunday made the “hands up” motion that has become synonymous with support for Michael Brown, the teenager shot and killed by a police officer in August in the nearby suburb of Ferguson.
Protesters demonstrating after the bar posted that it would no longer support the St. Louis Rams.
On Monday, Time Out Sports Bar Grill posted on its Facebook page that it would no longer support the football team “due to the bone headed ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ act by the number of Rams players.” The post said all signs and photos of the Rams would be removed from the walls. “We need to stand up to thugs who destroy our community and burn down local businesses, and boycott the other thugs/organizations who support them,” the post read.
The restaurant later posted again, saying it was “not taking sides in the Ferguson tragedy” and supports peaceful protest and free speech, but disagreed with the Rams “bringing the protest to a nationwide professional sporting event.”
A few dozen protesters gathered at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday outside one of Time Out’s locations in St. Louis. Wearing Rams jerseys and hats, the protesters chanted “We are Rams fans” and “We want service.” Protesters said a man who identified himself as a co-owner of the bar came to the door during the demonstration.
The group then moved to a second Time Out location nearby, repeating the protest. Protesters blocked the entry to both bars by standing on the sidewalk in front of the doors. They stayed at each bar for about 30 minutes.
Police organizations in the St. Louis area have expressed disapproval with the Rams players’ show of support, with one organization even calling for the five black players involved to be disciplined. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar claimed on Monday night that a top Rams official apologized for his players making the gesture, but the official disputed that account, saying he only expressed remorse about how the demonstration was interpreted.
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly.