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Mike Mularkey offers to pay fine for 9/11 cleat violation, though he can’t

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Mike Mularkey of the Tennessee Titans instructs his team during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Titans coach Mike Mularkey was happy to allow linebacker Avery Williamson to wear 9/11-themed cleats Sunday, in violation of the league’s uniform policy.

And he also said he’d pay any fine Williamson gets, even though that’s against the rules too.

Via Paul Kuharsky of, Mularkey has supported Williamson’s tribute to victims and first responders throughout.

“I said, ‘I’m going to shoot you straight like I shoot everybody straight: If you don’t wear those shoes, I’ll be very disappointed in you. Because all I want from you guys is to do things the right way,'” Mularkey said. “And him wearing those shoes is him doing something the right way.

If he gets a fine, I’m going to take care of that.”

First-time violators of the uniform code are fined $6,076, with $12,154 for a second violation.

But the league’s policy on fines and appeals also makes it clear Mularkey can’t back his player in the way he said he would: “Additional fines may be imposed on team management and coaching staffs for condoning, permitting, etc., violations in this area.”

At a time when the league is trying to determine a way to allow players to send certain messages at certain times (i.e. when they can control the message and the timing), it will be interesting to see how hard they come down on the Titans coach and linebacker for violating the letter of their law.

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5 Responses to “Mike Mularkey offers to pay fine for 9/11 cleat violation, though he can’t”
  1. teal379 says: Sep 13, 2016 6:33 AM

    The worst thing the league could do is impose any sort of fine for 9/11 shoes.

    If they do – it’s impossible to spin that. Impossible to make people understand why they allow players to come out with their hands up, to sit out the National Anthem and to protest but not to simply offer tribute to those that died in this generation’s Pearl Harbor or to honor police officers, some of color, that were murdered in an ambush.

    There isn’t a PR firm in the world that could make that case and have the NFL look positive from it. If the NFL decides to do it – the backlash will be huge and I’d suspect would be enough to get the owners to seriously consider removing Goodell. A league that enjoys a lot of benefit from the country its located in (anti-trust protection for one, tax breaks and tax-payer funded stadiums) and then turns and participates as they might here – don’t be surprised if Congress, under pressure from the NFL fan, decides to re-evaluate some of those benefits. The average fan cares little for the behavior of some of the players and it’s a simmering feeling. Should the fan feel like the NFL is punishing those who are doing things the right way – honoring those who served when called upon – the backlash will be immediate and evident.

  2. auscon4 says: Sep 13, 2016 6:42 AM

    So… You’ll ALLOW players to snub their noses at the flag, US military, their families and the country in general by not simply standing for our country’s anthem, but you’ll readily slap a fine on any player that slightly changes their wardrobe out of respect for our country and those that lost their lives on 9/11? Get over yourself NFL.

  3. surran70065 says: Sep 13, 2016 6:50 AM

    Just put a $6,076 “bonus” in his next paycheck. Problem solved.

  4. cdace13 says: Sep 13, 2016 7:25 AM

    Absolutely ridiculous that guys would be fined for honoring victims of 9/11. I get it, you have to draw the line somewhere. But really, the NFL does their October Breast Cancer awareness month and yet the amount they donate from those proceeds is minuscule. It’s all about the $$ and it’s getting old, fast.

  5. beauregard says: Sep 13, 2016 8:02 AM

    Players don’t need to “Send Messages”.
    Players need to play football.

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