Each year, the NFL riddles players with fines for an assortment of reasons. Occasionally, the fans of the NFL do not see eye to eye with how the league decides to take action.
As an example, the fans of New England were outraged that their beloved quarterback Tom Brady was supposed to be held out of four games after an accusation from the league arose during the AFC Championship game, which had to do with under-deflated footballs.
Sometimes, the passionate fans of America’s favorite sport simply do not understand why the league would hand down such a harsh fine.
Just weeks into the season, commissioner Roger Goodell handled certain situations in regards to uniform regulation questionably.
Because October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NFL allows players to wear certain articles of pink clothing to promote the cause.
During this time, the NFL technically strays away from the rulebook.
The NFL Rules Committee states in regard to uniform regulation, “Pursuant to the official colors established for each NFL club in the League Constitution and Bylaws, playing squads are permitted to wear only those colors or a combination of those colors for helmets, jerseys, pants and stockings.”
The NFL has now officially handed down five fines to players displaying mismatched clothing, which is not a part of their uniforms.
The first fine was issued to Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay, who was given a substantial fine of $5,800 for violating the dress code when he wore purple shoes to show support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which the NFL does not allow players to do.
Gay wanted to show his support because his mother was shot and killed by his stepfather when he was just 7 years old.
However, the shoes are clothing and the NFL specifically states that they should match the rest of the uniform.
While the rule is specific, it does not mention cleats in any manner.
The cornerback followed the rules as they are written and may not have deserved a fine.
Fining someone for wearing an article of clothing that does not match the rest of the team’s uniforms is justifiable, but Cam Heyward was charged for wearing his deceased father’s nickname on his eye black.
Cam Heyward’s father is an ex-NFL fullback, Craig Heyward, who lost a battle with cancer at the young age of 39.
In attempts to honor his father, Heyward’s eye black displayed the words “Iron Head.”
This was deemed inappropriate within the uniform guidelines and he was fined $5,787.
The final unjustified fine was levied against Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, who was fined the same amount as Heyward for wearing the words “Find The Cure” on his eyeblack.
Williams is the reason the NFL has made exceptions for players to wear pink in October.
Williams’ mother Sandra died in 2014 after suffering from breast cancer.
Williams did not believe that a single month was long enough to bring awareness to the disease.
He asked the NFL for permission to wear pink for the entire season, but his request was denied.
Williams tends to have different colors stemming from the bottom of his hair. Throughout the month of October he displayed a bright pink on the tips of his dreadlocks.
Williams stated in an ESPN article that nothing in the rulebook prohibits him from dying his hair.
Williams’ daughters have been seen wearing pink and holding signs that read “The NFL cannot fine us!”
The NFL has very specific rules, but players are only attempting to promote causes that many consider bigger than the game.
It is unclear whether this will affect the NFL’s popularity, but what is clear is that the NFL has made its stand in the area of uniform regulations.