NFL

Andrew Hawkins, Browns receiver, protests police shootings

The Browns say they respect the police and their player's rights to protest after wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a T-shirt Sunday supporting two black Ohioans killed during encounters with law enforcement.

Wore 'Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford' shirt during player intros

Cleveland receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt over his uniform in protest of two recent shootings by police in Ohio. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Browns say they respect the police and their player's rights to protest after wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a T-shirt Sunday supporting two black Ohioans killed during encounters with law enforcement.

Hawkins wore the black shirt during pre-game warmups and introductions for Cleveland's home game against Cincinnati. 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.

Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer told cleveland.com that Hawkins is "disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision."

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