NFL Fines Players for Wearing Commemorative 9/11 Cleats-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
The NFL said that it would fine players for wearing cleats or other uniform accessories commemorating the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
It’s true that the NFL warned players that they would be fined for wearing 9/11 tribute cleats on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that rocked the country.
However, it remains to be seen if the league will follow through on the threat.
Public outcry over the NFL’s refusal to allow players to wear commemorative 9/11 cleats during the league’s opening weekend started after Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson revealed that a league official warned that he’d be fined for wearing the cleats in the lead up to the team’s game, the Tennessean reports.
Williamson later released a press release that indicated he would auction off the 9/11 cleats rather than face an NFL fine for wearing them during a game:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sept. 8, 2016 – PRLog — Titans’ Avery Williamson, has changed his plan to wear custom patriotic cleats to honor 9/11 victims and service men/woman during the home opener against the Vikings on September 11, 2016. Instead, he has chosen to raise more awareness through an auction partnered with Operation Warrior Wishes and Charity Buzz International, which is live now
As for the cleats, they will be auctioned off for charity along with a meet & greet, two VIP tickets to a Tennessee Titans home game, and an autographed #54 jersey. The proceeds of the auction posted will go to Operation Warrior Wishes.
“9/11 is a time we can honor those who were lost, but also our service men/woman who were and are heroes,” Williamson said. “I have a cousin in the Navy and many people in my life that serve this country. These cleats and this auction are a way to show honor,” Williamson expressed. “Avery is a stand up man for doing this for those who serve. The gesture speaks volumes about his respect for this country and the heroes of 9/11 and beyond, “said Craig Steichen, Founder of Operation Warrior Wishes, said.
However, Williamson apparently changed his mind before the game. The Tennessean reported that Williamson wore the 9/11 cleats during the team’s week one game despite the NFL’s threat to fine him for doing so.
New York Giants star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz also wore the 9/11 cleats during the team’s week one game, “daring” the NFL to fine them for doing so, New York Daily News reports:
Beckham’s special cleats were red, white and blue and emblazoned with the bust of a bald eagle. Cruz’s cleats had red and white stripes splashed with blue-star accents.
Beckham’s shoes portrayed the Twin Towers, while Cruz’s had a fire-truck theme that featured his late father’s engine number. His dad was a smokeater in Paterson, NJ, before his death in 2007.
The NFL never directly addressed reports that it had refused to allow players to wear 9/11 cleats, and it remains to be seen if the league would fine players for doing so because it hands down fines on the Tuesday or Wednesday following a game.
In 2011, the NFL famously announced that it would not fine players for wearing 9/11 tribute gear on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack, with NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello saying, “We have extensive plans for Sunday to respectfully recognize the significance of the day,” the New York Daily News reports.
However, the NFL has since become notoriously strict about its uniform policies under NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. A player whose mother died from breast cancer was fined multiple times in 2015 for wearing eye black that said, “Find a Cure” in her honor, for example.
The NFL has sent a clear message that no matter how worthy a cause, it does not allow any unapproved uniform alterations to go unpunished.
It should be noted, however, that the NFL donates money generated from fines to charities. The league said in a statement that players sometimes request which charities the money goes to, but the league tries to “stay universal” when handing out the money. That means fines handed down for 9/11 cleats could be donated to 9/11-related charities — or not.