Jets center Nick Mangold was so upset about the killing of two New York City police officers on Saturday that he wanted to show his support in a very public way at Sunday's game against the Patriots.
The veteran lineman reached out to a friend and had an NYPD cap delivered to MetLife Stadium, and he wore it during pregame warm-ups. He also put the cap over his heart during the singing of the national anthem.
"I heard about it as soon as it popped up in my news feed," Mangold said. "I was saddened by it, not only for those two officers, but for their families. For them to go out on an afternoon and not come home has got to be tough .
"I was sitting there last night thinking about it and thinking about the opportunity I have. [Police] out on the street, they put their lives at risk. It was important for me to show my support."
Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot the two men several times before running down the street and into a nearby subway station. Brinsley killed himself when other officers approached him.
Brinsley had made statements on social media suggesting he planned to kill police officers and expressed anger about cases involving Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Separate grand juries in both cases did not indict the police officers in the deaths of Garner on Staten Island and Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
"The men and women [of the NYPD], they go out there every day, and they don't know if it's going to be their last day," said Mangold, who left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter. "We go out here, we play a sport, we don't know whether or not it's going to be your last play. You magnify that when you [don't] know if it's your last day on Earth. I can't even imagine what they go through."
Mangold said he has "always been a big fan of the NYPD, Jersey police, our folks locally in Chatham , they do an unbelievable job, so I took the opportunity to be able to make a public support of that."
Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who criticized the Missouri grand jury for not indicting officer Darren Wilson, referring to Wilson as a "pig" on Twitter, sharply criticized Saturday's shootings.
"Some blood was spilled [and] I'm not with that at all," he said. "It's real sad that two officers lost their lives and can't go home to their families. I didn't want that to happen at all. No police officer deserves to die, especially doing their job."
Richardson said it was "cowardly on the guy's behalf" to kill the officers. "That's not what I want. I'm with the peaceful protests and stuff like that, and defending your rights, but that's not the way to go. Murdering innocent cops is not the way to go."