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Al Sharpton PRAISES ST. LOUIS RAMS Every Athlete Should Follow Their Lead

12/2/2014 7:52 AM PST

Al Sharpton -- PRAISES ST. LOUIS RAMS ... Every Athlete Should Follow Their Lead

EXCLUSIVE

Al Sharpton says he "respects and admires" the St. Louis Rams players who did the "Hands Up" tribute to Mike Brown before Sunday's game ... and is calling on ALL ATHLETES to follow their lead.

"I think that they have a right to do it and it was much appreciated," Sharpton told us. 

Of course, the Rams have come under fire from the St. Louis Police Officers Association -- which demanded an apology ... saying the players ignored "mountains of evidence" in the case and offended cops around the country.

But Sharpton doesn't see it that way -- telling TMZ Sports, "I think to criticize people for expressing themselves is against what America ought to be about." Watch TMZ Sports on FS1 Get the new TMZ Sports app!

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