The St. Louis Cardinals asked a police group to remove a Facebook photo of the team’s mascot posing with a “Police Lives Matter” sign, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported on Friday.
Ron Watermon, the Cardinals’ vice president of communications, told the paper in a statement that the photo was posted on May 18 and the team requested that it be removed from the Facebook page of the St. Louis Police Officers Association on May 19.
“When the Cardinals became aware of the photograph on Tuesday, we asked our friends at the police association to take it down, and they graciously accommodated our request,” he said.
The image that was reportedly uploaded to Facebook is below, via Deadspin:
Watermon said Fredbird is used “to make fans happy” and not to spread political messages.
The image of the team’s mascot, Fredbird, posing with the sign made news last week after Deadspin published an article titled “Your Racist Uncle Will Love This Picture Of The Cardinals’ Mascot.”
According to Deadspin, a Cardinals employee said via email that Fredbird could be hired for “any type of event” and that interested parties had only to “fill out an application.”
The article accused the “Police Lives Matter” slogan of being a “crypto-racist way of dismissing legitimate anger about police violence in black communities.”
The phrase arose after a similar slogan, “Black Lives Matter,” was created in response to the numerous police shootings of black men that have aroused scrutiny and mass protests.