NFL mistaken to fine Heyward for paying tribute to his dad, others fighting cancer
In yet another baffling decision the NFL has decided to fine Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward for the second week in a row. The star player is facing these fines for wearing the words “Iron” and Head” on his eye black for honoring his father who passed away in 2006 of cancer.
The NFL and Roger Goodell haven’t exactly been on a hot streak in recent months due to the “Deflategate” saga and its mishandling of several domestic violence cases. Fining Heyward for supporting his father and supporting the fight against cancer by “violating the uniform policy” will not make fellow players and fans happy.
Heyward, who plans to don the look through the end of October and possibly longer, said he is just trying to send a positive message.
“A lot of people are struggling with cancer and that’s what my message was,” Heyward said. “It’s not just about me and my love for my father. There are a lot of people out there struggling. In a month when breast cancer is honored I think every type of cancer should be honored as well.”
Heyward was initially fined after wearing the message last week for violating the NFL’s uniform policy. Ironically, ex-Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still was not fined for honoring his daughter Leah by wearing “Leah Strong” on his eye black last season. Still said he had no idea it was against the rules and has since voiced his support of Heyward.
“I definitely support him,” Still said. “He’s using a platform and trying to support his dad with an important cause. I don’t see nothing wrong with that.”
This is a primary example of what is wrong with the NFL. The NFL will fine and discipline players for representing a good cause, yet it didn’t have specific disciplinary action for domestic violence until after the Ray Rice video was leaked.
The NFL has warned Heyward’s teammate running back DeAngelo Williams that he cannot wear pink outside of October in honoring his mother who died of cancer. Yet a guy like Aldon Smith who has been arrested five times since 2012, including three DUI charges, was signed by the Oakland Raiders after his latest DUI and hit and run charge and has played all season without facing a fine or suspension.
When will the NFL learn? The NFL shockingly continues to reprimand guys for silly things such as a “uniform violation” but Smith can face no fine or suspension for a third DUI charge in as many years. It’s shocking and it’s wrong.
If Goodell and the NFL have any integrity, they will reach out to Heyward who is appealing his fines and whoever else that is representing a good cause in a reasonable manner.
The ball is in your court Mr. Goodell.