Monday, September 22, 2014

Ferguson Protest Fizzles Out at St. Louis Rams, Dallas Cowboys Game, Moves to Busch Stadium

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Umar Lee says the St. Louis Rams are "on probation." - YOUTUBE
  • YouTube
  • Umar Lee says the St. Louis Rams are "on probation."

All eyes were on the Edward Jones Dome Sunday afternoon as the Dallas Cowboys matched the biggest comeback in the team's history, besting the St. Louis Rams' early 21-0 lead with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat them 34-31.

Oh, yeah, and there was something about a protest about the death of Michael Brown.

News about Brown's death and the unrest in Ferguson has had a stranglehold on local news for weeks, but when protesters tried to take their cause to the gridiron, a plan to interrupt the game fizzled out.

A few dozen protesters marched outside the stadium before kickoff, and the handful of demonstrators who made it into the game tried chanting without much luck or notice from nearby football fans. Protesters then moved their demonstration to the St. Louis Cardinals game at nearby Busch Stadium. Some organizers said the first protest at the dome was a "decoy" to distract police while the real protest happened at the baseball game, mostly in front of Ballpark Village.

Two attempts at protests inside the stadium were quashed, and the game ended without any protesters arrested in or outside the stadium, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Protesters last major attempt at disruption -- a planned shutdown of Interstate 70 -- was stopped by police on September 10.

See also: PHOTOS: Police Thwart I-70 Blockade by Blocking I-70, Arrest 32 Ferguson Protesters

Umar Lee, a St. Louis American writer and taxi driver who has been actively demonstrating in Ferguson, originally called for protesters to shut down the game and for Rams ticket holders to donate tickets so protesters to get in.

"There is no business as usual in St. Louis until there's justice for Mike Brown," Lee says in a YouTube Video four days before the game.

"There is no business as usual until we get some positive change and some positive movement," Lee continues. "You can't just drive in from the suburbs and the exurbs and drink your beer and leave drunk after watching football and think it's business as usual going on in St. Louis. It's not that kind of party."

Protesters were seen outside the Dome and waiting in line to get in, and just like during the Ferguson riots, some were live-streaming video of the protests to come. But by the time the Rams and Cowboys were ready to square off, Lee came out with a new video message with a completely different tone.

In the video, Lee stands outside the Dome and says St. Louis, the county and the Rams are all "on probation."

"Because there are children out there, because there are families, we've decided to be merciful and compassionate and give the Rams permission to have their football game," Lee says. "So they do have our permission, but they are on probation."

Lee did get inside the game and chant about Brown's death: Not all the demonstrators seemed to think Operation #NoJusticeNoFootball seemed like a failure. One organizer says she believes the movement kept football fans away from the game in protest.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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