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NFL Players Wear "I Can't Breathe" Messages To Protest Eric Garner's Death

Several players sported the words uttered by Staten Island man Eric Garner before he died while under a police officer's chokehold.

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People from across the country are using Garner's last words as a rallying cry to protest police brutality and last week's grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who applied the chokehold to the 43-year-old father of five.

St. Louis Rams guard Davin Joseph tweeted an image of his shoes with the words "I Can't Breathe" before playing against the Washington Redskins.

"I feel like we should support what we feel is right," said Joseph. "We should always have an opinion of sticking up for people who don't have a voice."

Tight end Jared Cook wrote the words on his wrist tape.

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Receiver Kenny Britt wrote on his cleats the names of Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin, whose deaths all sparked protests across the nation.

Britt also dedicated last week's game to Brown's death.

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Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi, who had the words written on the back of his shirt before his game in Cleveland, said some of the players and coaches on his team didn't even know what "I Can't Breathe" meant.

Bademosi said that Garner's death and the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who applied the chokehold was "a ridiculous situation."

"It's not an us-against-them thing," he said. "It's about us standing in solidarity with those of us who know what's going on."

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Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush, who also had the words written on his warmup shirt, said that, while he was not one to get into politics, he "just felt really terrible about what was going on the past couple of weeks."

"Honestly, I've always been the quiet kid," Bush told the Associated Press. "I've always been the one who's reserved, to kind of sit back and not really get into politics and things like that. But I don't know why I just felt some kind of ... I guess the situation just touched me."

Bush, whose mother has been a police officer for around 20 years, said the situation resonated with him, not because he had been through it but because, "I just really felt terrible about what was going on these past couple of weeks."

Other athletes also joined the movement with Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose wearing a warmup shirt with the words before an NBA game Saturday night.

Thank you Derrick Rose of the @ChicagoBulls for speaking out! http://t.co/PJk3D7OmrU #ICantBreath #BlackLivesMatter

Robin Kelly @Robin42CDFollow

Thank you Derrick Rose of the @ChicagoBulls for speaking out! http://t.co/PJk3D7OmrU #ICantBreath #BlackLivesMatter

7:07 AM - 08 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

NBA star LeBron James thought Rose's protest shirt was "spectacular." "I loved it. I'm looking for one," he said, without confirming whether he would wear it before the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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