WASHINGTON -- A top St. Louis Rams official has apologized to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar because some Rams players put their hands in the air before the game on Sunday in solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, a St. Louis County Police spokesman said Monday.
Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer for the St. Louis Rams, apologized to Belmar in a phone call on Monday, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman told The Huffington Post. Belmar had no additional comment on the matter, other than confirming the apology.
But according to a reporter for ESPN, Demoff said that he never apologized for the actions of his players, instead expressing remorse for how their actions were construed:
"At no time in any of the conversations did I apologize for the actions of our players." -- Kevin Demoff to me just a moment ago.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 2, 2014
According to a letter published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Belmar wrote to department staff members that Demoff "clearly regretted that any members of the Ram's organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day." Belmar wrote that he believed the call was "heartfelt," the Post-Dispatch reported.
In email sent after the tweets, Schellman said, "Even though Mr. Demoff stated he never apologized, the Chief believed it to be an apology and the Chief sent the email to police staff to let them know about the call, after he told Mr. Demoff he would share his sentiments with his staff."
"Hands up, don't shoot" became the motto of demonstrators in Ferguson and across the country after the death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, and the demonstration by Rams players came just days after a grand jury decided not to indict former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's death.
In an earlier statement, St. Louis Police Officers Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda, a former police officer who was fired for misconduct and has said that "trying to change law enforcement" would be "a betrayal" of Brown's legacy, said his organization wanted the players punished.
The association met with Rams officials about the incident, according to a statement. The NFL has said the five black players will not face fines for raising their hands into the air. Rams Coach Jeff Fisher declined to take questions on the "hands up" gestures, but said the players involved would not be disciplined.
This story has been updated with an additional statement from Brian Schellman.