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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — His eyes filling with tears, Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins spoke passionately about a decision he knew would bring backlash and possibly harm his reputation.

For Hawkins, there was no choice.

A day after he wore a T-shirt protesting two shootings in Ohio involving police and victims carrying fake guns, Hawkins said he was motivated out of fear that one day something tragic could happen to his 2-year-old son.

Hawkins wore the black shirt during pre-game warmups and introductions Sunday before Cleveland hosted the Cincinnati Bengals. The messages read: “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” on the front and “The Real Battle for Ohio” on the back.

The 12-year-old Rice died Nov. 22 after he was shot by a rookie officer investigating a complaint about the youngster, who was carrying a fake gun. Crawford, 22, was fatally shot Aug. 5 while holding an air-pellet rifle inside a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio.

“I have a two-year-old little boy, that same two-year-old little boy everyone says was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year,” Hawkins said, pausing to gain his composure. “That little boy is my entire world and the number one 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.”

Hawkins spoke for six minutes Monday at his locker without taking questions. He said he wanted to address the situation after Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer called his actions “pathetic” and told cleveland.com Hawkins is “disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision.”

Hawkins’ one-man protest was supported by the Browns, who said in a statement that they respected both the police and their players’ rights to take on causes.

“My wearing of the T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department,” Hawkins said. “My wearing of the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason to innocent people.”

Hawkins said he was “scared” of the reaction to his demonstration, but the 28-year-old chose to wear the shirt “because deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do.”

“I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way,” he said. “And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. … If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward and I couldn’t live with that.”

Hawkins said his mother raised him to respect law enforcement and he has family and close friends who are police officers. She also taught him to stand up for his beliefs.

“My heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford, knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality,” he said. “I felt like my heart was in the right place, I’m at peace with it and those who disagree with me, this is America. That’s the point. Everyone has a right to their First Amendment rights.”

Browns linebacker Craig Robertson said he did not have any issue with his teammate’s choice to protest before the game.

“You can’t fault a person for standing up for something that he believes in,” Robertson said. “You can’t get mad at somebody if they don’t believe in Christmas, so you can’t get mad at somebody for wearing a T-shirt.”

(Photo: Associated Press)

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21 thoughts on “Browns WR Hawkins Won’t Apologize For T-Shirt [WATCH]

  1. Mr. Hawkins have nothing to apologize about. If those officers who are crooked were released from the force and stop killing black people for sport, Mr. Hawkins and the countless others would not have to be out protesting and wear symbolic t-shirts.

  2. Apologize???? What did he do that was so offensive to the police? Those that carry out their jobs day in and day out with the integrity that they should wouldn’t find a man wearing a t-shirt as cause for an apology. I applaud him for shedding his fear and standing up for his beliefs and doing what he thought was right. My mother always used to say “Doing the right thing isn’t always easy”

  3. WHITE people who fall into the category of STUPID RACISTS, STILL want BLACK people to feel as if WE should be on our hands and knees thanking THEM that we live in this country. apology for what?! did zimmerman, wilson, pantaleo APOLOGIZE (SINCERELY) for KILLING/MURDERING trayvon, brown, or mr. gardner. SMHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  4. Why should he apologize? It just goes to show-these unions have NO IDEA on how to ‘fix’ this problem! The solutions!
    -Eliminate white police from patrolling black neighborhoods. How many black police in white neighborhoods?!
    -Create Police Reviews Boards
    -Supply neighborhoods with cameras [in people’s homes]
    -Utilize District Attorneys to the max NOT police internal affair boards-pleassssssssssse!

  5. “I can’t Breathe”

    In my heart of hearts, my
    Wounded-soul,still grieves
    Eric Garner’s last words
    I can’t breathe,I can’t breathe.

    A blind-eye,deaf-ear to
    Wrong can never be right
    As justice is murdered by an
    Illegal-chokehold in plain-sight.

  6. redbone1954 on said:

    I see no need for an apology from him to anyone. As he stated anyone police officer that was offended may be among those who do not always do the right thing. I know that every police department in this country has a thankless job. People want you there when there is a problem or something happens to them personally and then there are those time when everyone is mad at a cop about something so I know they have a thankless job but it is the job they chose and it is dangerous. so the the police that do their jobs with copassion and concern they know who they are for the other cowboys out there you too know how you are

  7. I am totally in agreement with Mr. Hawkins. I myself have brothers and nephews that I pray for each and everyday that they will not become a statistic. You can be in the right place at the right time and still become a victim of unnecessary brutality. I applaud Mr. Hawkins and wish more like him will speak up, show up and show support. It is getting ridiculous each and every day you read of some “mishap” if you want to call it that, on the internet and in the media. It is time to put this to a halt! This is 2014 not 1960 and stop blaming the President for everything that is going wrong in these cities! Racism was here way before President Obama became President, as a matter of fact before he was born!!

    • Sharron and it hasn’t gone anywhere-its just under the rug-in the form of a microscopic ‘thin’ line. And THAT’S the reason to not play in some back yards.

  8. I applaud Mr. Hawkins. The Police tat ask for apologies are the ones that believe they are above the law. The fact they they feel citizen do not have the right to question their actions is a clear reason we need special prosecutors and to better select officers.

  9. I applaud this football player for standing up for his beliefs! America continues to be “in denial” of its hate, racism, injustices, inequalities, and police brutality.

  10. Joe Johnson on said:

    This Football Player says that he”Jockingly Kicked Out His 2 YearOlld son/” What Joke This guy needs to get a Psycological evalustion ..Is he Mentally unstable?

    • hey now! on said:

      you obviously do not have a sense of humor………………who amongst us have not played with our children and joked about putting them out, etc. man, get a life!

    • Joe Johnson on said:

      So June Help me understand all of the Police Union Members including the 34% who are Blacks are KKK? Black KKK Memebers Really…Did you ask to see their membership cards???? So Do You agree with me that we should remove all policing in all Black Hoods and Latino Hoods and Let The Black And Hispanic poor folks take care of all policing themselves … ??????

      • Probably would be less fatal if we did! What good is having the police in our neighborhood if someone is going to end up being killed by them for no good reason? That’s why they are not called as much by Blacks now. They will send out 10 police cars because a sister and brother are having an argument. And, I am pretty sure you know that the person you responded to was not referring to the Blacks in the Police Union, although there are probably a lot of the Blacks in the Union that have been so brain washed that they are just as brutal to their own kind.

      • @Joe…so you are Joe today? Last week you were Jim….make up your mind and stick to 1 screen name…not difficult to know who you are with the same ip address…DUH!

      • You lie! There is no none demographic makeups of any police union. When you spew statistics provide a link for your claim. Furthermore there are many police unions in this country not just specifically one. How do I know? I’ve only been a cop for the last 17 yrs.

      • Black police as kkk is rediculous. Black police behaving in the WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD like the white police in the black neighborhood-now THAT would be something to see.

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