‘I’m at peace with it:’ Andrew Hawkins defends decision to wear controversial t-shirt

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND-- One of the most talked about parts of Sunday's Browns game was wide receiver Andrew Hawkins' shirt.

"The number one reason for me wearing the shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my son Austin.  It scares the living hell out of me," said an emotional Hawkins Monday afternoon.

Hawkins defended his decision to wear a shirt that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford" on the front and "The Real Battle for Ohio" on the back during pre-game warm-ups Sunday.

"I understood there was going to be backlash.  And that scared me, to be honest.  But deep down, I felt it was the right thing to do.  And if I was to run away from what I thought was right, then I would be a coward.  And I can't live with that,"  said Hawkins.

"It was disappointing and I think it was quite disrespectful to the Cleveland Police Department," said Cleveland Police Union president Jeff Follmer.

Follmer is demanding an apology from Hawkins, as well as the Browns organization.

"We have Cleveland Police officers that work for the organization.  We have Cleveland Police officers that work the streets and make sure that everyone gets in and out of the game.  So it definitely was a stab," said Follmer

Hawkins refused to apologize, however.

"A call for justice shouldn't warrant an apology," said Hawkins.

Tamir Rice, 12, and John Crawford, 22,  both died in police involved incidents in Ohio.

Meantime, the Cleveland Browns released a statement saying "We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city," We also respect our players' rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner."

"The politics are not for the football field.  A lot of families watch the game.  It's not for something that should be handled through the police department and the courtrooms.  It's not for the football field," said Follmer.

"I made the conscious decision to wear the shirt.  I felt my heart was in the right place and I'm at peace with it," said Hawkins.

Click here for continuing coverage on this story.