In response to a request from the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Police Officers Association has taken down a Facebook photo of Fredbird, mascot for the St. Louis Cardinals, posing with a blue sign that reads, “POLICE LIVES MATTER,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The photograph from which major league baseball officials are publicly distancing themselves this week was reportedly shot by a fan before a game last Sunday at Busch Stadium. A couple had allegedly approached Fredbird and asked him to pose with the woman of the duo, along with the incendiary sign, while the male partner stood behind the camera and took a picture.
On Monday, the St. Louis Police Officers Association posted the photographed image of Fredbird holding a “POLICE LIVES MATTER” sign on its Facebook page, though the woman in the picture had been cropped out.
The edited picture of a politicized Fredbird appeared on Twitter as well:
— Fiery Mad Redhead (@fierymadredhead) May 18, 2015
“Of course police lives matter,” Deadspin noted in an angry sendup, “but used as a direct retort to the non-controversial idea that black lives matter, the phrase is an at best crypto-racist way of dismissing legitimate anger about police violence in black communities.”
By Tuesday, the Cardinals were aware that their mascot was on the internet taking a stand opposite those who protested the shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed teenager suspected of petty theft who raised his hands in surrender to Ferguson police before officer Darren Wilson killed him.
In a statement, the Cardinals’ vice president of communications, Ron Watermon, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, upon learning of Fredbird’s controversial social media post, team officials “asked our friends at the police association to take it down, and they graciously accommodated our request.” Watermon further adds that Fredbird was not aware of the sign’s contents when he posed with fans last week for the now infamous photograph.