Day after day, the NFL makes it harder and harder to support them. We have news of another uniform related fine. Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay has been fined $5,787 for wearing purple sneakers in support of domestic violence awareness. In case you're wondering why he is wearing them, Gay's mother was killed in an act of domestic violence.
This follows DeAngelo Williams getting fined $5,787 for wearing "Find the Cure" eyeblack this past week. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler is reporting he has worn the eyeblack for five straight years, and this is the first time he has been fined. This followed the NFL telling him he could not wear pink throughout the season, beyond the league mandated time in October.
Williams' teammate Cameron Heyward was fined for wearing eyeblack that had "Iron Head" on it, in support his dad, who had passed away from bone cancer. He was fined one week, and when he wore it again the next week, the increased fine was decreased after a discussion with the NFL. Heyward agreed not to wear it again.
People raise the question of uniform rules, but you can look to other leagues for examples of leeway. NBA players are allowed to wear unique sneakers based on their individual shoe deals, and the league also allows different colors for raising awareness. MLB players can all wear a variety of cleats. A completely random example would be Shane Victorino wearing "American flag" themed cleats in the playoffs a couple years back.
The NFL is looking to maintain some semblance of control over the players, which is the only reason I can think of for why they act so obtusely on this. I contacted the NFLPA to see if they have ever contacted the league about discussing this further.
Gay did acknowledge he was aware of the issue, and just hoped the NFL would send the full fine to a domestic violence cause. He also suggested this, which would at least be a step in the right direction:
And so this is why William Gay asking the NFL to allow players one weekend to relax uni code, allow them to champion a cause of their choice— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 28, 2015