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NFL will not discipline Rams for pregame gesture

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The NFL will not discipline the St. Louis Rams players who held up their hands as a gesture of solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, prior to Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders.

"We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement on Monday.

Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt emerged from the tunnel during pregame introductions Sunday using the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" pose adopted by protesters following the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. The St. Louis County prosecutor's office announced last week that it will not indict Wilson for the fatal confrontation, a decision that led to unrest in Ferguson and protests across the nation.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association released a statement that it was "profoundly disappointed" by the display while "calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology."

After Sunday's 52-0 win over the Raiders, Cook explained the thought process behind the pregame gesture.

"We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something," Cook said via ESPN.com. "We haven't been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it's kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.

"So we wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and the people who have been doing a heck of a job around the world."

UPDATE: The Rams issued a statement on the matter Monday evening:

"We had positive discussions today with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis County Chief of Police Chief Jon Belmar and representatives from the St. Louis Police Officers' Association and St. Louis County Police Association during which we expressed our respect for their concerns surrounding yesterday's game.

"What has transpired over the past four months is a tragedy that has impacted our entire community. Together we are beginning a healing process that will require time, energy and honest dialogue. The Rams will continue to build on what have always been strong and valued relationships with local law enforcement and the greater St. Louis community as we come together to help heal our region."

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