While protesters and police clashed in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday night, a large number of teenage boys were able to get away from the violence in the St. Louis suburb and enjoy a special experience.
The St. Louis Rams offered 75 free tickets for their preseason game against the Green Bay Packers to each of the three high school football teams -- McCluer, McCluer North and McCluer South -- closest to the scenes of unrest since the Aug. 9 police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“Our kids are focused on this season, but I worry about them out here, to be honest,” McCluer Coach Mario MacDonald told Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko.
According to Klemko, a lot of the players on those teams are angry with the police over Brown's shooting. On the bus ride to the Edward Jones Dome that day, Klemko said, a number of players started chanting, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” upon seeing protesters on West Florissant Avenue.
Otherwise, the focus was on football, which is just what Kyle Eversgerd, the Rams' manager of fan development and alumni relations, hoped for when he came up with the idea.
“In light of everything going on it just kind of hit me,” Eversgerd said. “I can’t imagine with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all.”
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