Keith Olbermann Says Andrew Hawkins Made ‘Great Civil Statement’ Regarding Tamir Rice

Keith Olbermann Says Andrew Hawkins Made ‘Great Civil Statement’ Regarding Tamir Rice

andrew hawkins locker roomedited

During his Tuesday night broadcast, ESPN host Keith Olbermann declared that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins made a “great civil statement” when he spoke to the media Monday regarding the protest shirt he wore Sunday. Prior to the Browns game Sunday, Hawkins entered the stadium wearing a shirt that read “Justice For Tamir Rice And John Crawford III.” Shortly after the game, outgoing Cleveland Police Patrolman Association President Jeffrey Follmer claimed that Hawkins was “pathetic” for wearing the shirt and demanded the Browns organization publicly apologize to the police.

Hawkins wore the shirt to draw attention to the shooting deaths of Rice and Crawford. Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, was shot dead by Cleveland police last month. Seconds after encountering the child, who was holding a toy gun, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann opened fire and killed the young boy. A grand jury has been convened to look into the matter. Crawford was killed by police in August at a Wal-Mart near Dayton, Ohio. Crawford was carrying an air rifle he picked up from a store shelf. A local grand jury decided not to indict either of the officers involved in the shooting. Recently, video surfaced of an interrogation showing an officer threatening Crawford’s girlfriend with jail time after Crawford’s death.

Olbermann decided to use a few minutes of his broadcast Tuesday to play Hawkins powerful and eloquent statement from Monday. He wanted Hawkins’ words and feelings to come through to the viewer.

Below is video of the segment, courtesy of ESPN:



Below is a transcript of Hawkins’ passionate speech.

I was taught that justice is a right that every American should have. Also justice should be the goal of every American. I think that’s what makes this country. To me, justice means the innocent should be found innocent. It means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment. Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.

To clarify, I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way. And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. My mom taught me my entire life to respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends that are incredible police officers and I tell them all the time how they are much braver than me for it. So my wearing a T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department. My wearing the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people.

Unfortunately, my mom also taught me just as there are good police officers, there are some not-so-good police officers that would assume the worst of me without knowing anything about me for reasons I can’t control. She taught me to be careful and be on the lookout for those not-so-good police officers because they could potentially do me harm and most times without consequences. Those are the police officers that should be offended.

Being a police officer takes bravery. And I understand that they’re put in difficult positions and have to make those snap decisions. As a football player, I know a little bit about snap decisions, obviously on an extremely lesser and non-comparative scale, because when a police officer makes a snap decision, it’s literally a matter of life and death. That’s hard a situation to be in. But if the wrong decision is made, based on pre-conceived notions or the wrong motives, I believe there should be consequence. Because without consequence, naturally the magnitude of the snap decisions is lessened, whether consciously or unconsciously.

I’m not an activist, in any way, shape or form. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I keep my opinions to myself on most matters. I worked extremely hard to build and keep my reputation especially here in Ohio, and by most accounts I’ve done a solid job of decently building a good name. Before I made the decision to wear the T-shirt, I understood I was putting that reputation in jeopardy to some of those people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with my perspective. I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do. 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 can’t live with that. God wouldn’t be able to put me where I am today, as far as I’ve come in life, if I was a coward.

As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. The same 2-year-old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the No. 1 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. And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality.

So, like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt. I felt like my heart was in the right place. I’m at peace with it and those that disagree with me, this is America, everyone has the right to their first amendment rights. Those who support me, I appreciate your support. But at the same time, support the causes and the people and the injustices that you feel strongly about. Stand up for them. Speak up for them. No matter what it is because that’s what America’s about and that’s what this country was founded on.

It should be pointed out that after Hawkins’ heartfelt comments Monday, Follmer took the low road and showed how big a jerk he truly can be. During an appearance on MSNBC’s All In, Follmer claimed Rice’s death was justified and pointed out that Hawkins was “wrong” to call for justice. I think we all know who’s the bigger man now.


2 Responses to "Keith Olbermann Says Andrew Hawkins Made ‘Great Civil Statement’ Regarding Tamir Rice"

  1. Wm WIllis   Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Well done Keith…Very well done Andrew!

  2. Thomwilli   Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 9:09 am

    this is a nation of laws and no one is above the law, the protect and serve crowd that our taxes pay their salaries to hunt us , profile us accost usand kill and maim us.without remorse, they will manhandle our women even when they are with child, harass U.S. Citizens who have a right against illegal search and seizure. There appears to be a consensus opinion by the police that black lives don’t matter, when you shoot and kill a six year old child sleeping in her bed, there is no way to justify this heinous barbarous action. The uniform of the law enforcement officers does not deserve the respect that it once garnered.and when police officers commit these anti-american acts against its citizenry . They shall be prosecuted, but no one will indict, even the least offense will they the grand jury which is predominantly white Americans will level against them.