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NFL won’t fine Avery Williamson for 9/11 tribute cleats

Umpire Fred Bryan holds a small American flag during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

In the NFL, the rules are the rules.

Except when they aren’t.

According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, Titans linebacker Avery Williamson isn’t expected to be fined for the 9/11 tribute cleats he wore Sunday.

Williamson acknowledged in advance that he expected to be fined — which is reasonable since everyone else who fails to fall in line to the league’s uniform code usually gets that letter. Since then, two police union leaders and Titans coach Mike Mularkey said they’d pay the fine for him.

As it pertains to his coach, the league’s decision to turn a blind eye to nonconformity when it dresses itself as patriotism prevented a huge can of worms from being opened. Not only can teams not pay fines for players, they can’t encourage or condone such behavior.

But clearly, some rules are more equal than others, which I’m sure the next player with a cause to promote will remember.

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38 Responses to “NFL won’t fine Avery Williamson for 9/11 tribute cleats”
  1. magnumpimustache says: Sep 13, 2016 3:11 PM

    Its a good things are spelled out in the CBA.

    You wouldn’t want to be accused of breaking an equipment rule and expect $25,000 fine only to be hit with a 4 game suspension.

  2. thetooloftools says: Sep 13, 2016 3:15 PM

    Players are making so much money that fines are meaningless anymore anyway.

  3. jag1959 says: Sep 13, 2016 3:19 PM

    The frauds at 345 Park Ave got painted into a corner on this one. The clowns that wrap themselves in the flag for a profit realized they would have a hard time fining a player for 9/11 cleats. That said, they have not been so tolerant of the pink message outside of it’s allotted marketing…er awareness… window, look forward to that explanation.

  4. dpdonny says: Sep 13, 2016 3:22 PM

    Good decision, but is there anything more subjective than the NFL disciplining policies. Next week someone will do something similar and be fined $50K and suspended.

  5. weepingjebus says: Sep 13, 2016 3:24 PM

    It is more probable than not that the league is generally aware of this scheme to engage in an equipment violation. Goodell should be suspended for 4 games.

  6. packmanfan says: Sep 13, 2016 3:25 PM

    The shoes read “9/11/01 Never forget.”
    Don’t worry. We won’t.
    I mean, how can we not?

  7. packmanfan says: Sep 13, 2016 3:29 PM

    If the NFL is not fining and OK with the controversy over some players not standing during the anthem then they should be OK with the controversy over a player paying respects to an American tragic event.

  8. maddenisfordorks says: Sep 13, 2016 3:33 PM

    How … noble of them?

    I’m so lost with all of this.

    Pretty sure the folks who are no longer with us due to the events on 9/11 would be a bit pissed off if they knew how stupid this whole thing is.

  9. adoombray says: Sep 13, 2016 3:35 PM

    Ironically association with shoes is the biggest insult in the Arab world, so this one was fun for all involved ! ISIS must be breaking the internet to buy tens of thousands more pairs!

  10. MiamiDolphinsNationTravelingtoNewEngland says: Sep 13, 2016 3:36 PM

    Cleat Tributes Matter!

  11. mmack66 says: Sep 13, 2016 3:37 PM

    How can they ever fine anyone for a uniform infraction after this?

  12. davefromtheburgh says: Sep 13, 2016 3:38 PM

    They should have fined him.

  13. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Sep 13, 2016 3:38 PM

    thetooloftools says:
    Sep 13, 2016 3:15 PM
    Players are making so much money that fines are meaningless anymore anyway.
    ————————————-

    You might have missed the point on this one a little.

  14. chewypops says: Sep 13, 2016 3:43 PM

    Where does the league draw the line? It’s okay to wear 9/11 cleats because it’s a tribute but DeAngelo Williams got fined for writing “find the cure” on his eye black for breast cancer that his mother died from and William Gay gets fined for wearing purple cleats to support domestic violence because his mother was shot by his stepdad when he was 7.

    So the league is saying 9/11 is okay but breast cancer and domestic violence aren’t AS important right?

  15. whenwilliteverend says: Sep 13, 2016 3:43 PM

    I think what the league should have done was to fine him anyway BUT, pay the fine themselves and donate it to a 9/11 charity. That of course would require the league to fork over some of their cash which was never going to happen.

  16. bobleblah says: Sep 13, 2016 3:52 PM

    Freedom Fries Ain’t Free.

  17. laces out says: Sep 13, 2016 3:55 PM

    The reality is there’s no written rule about standing for the Anthem, but there are written rules on what you can wear. An example is the Tim Tebow rule which forbids biblical passages written on eye paint.

    It’s bad PR, but the NFL would be within their right to fine Williams for it.

  18. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Sep 13, 2016 3:56 PM

    In effect, it would’ve been a fine levied against the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association (and social media at large). Goodell is finding out that poker is a much tougher game than football, and he hasn’t seen anything yet.

  19. tebowislife says: Sep 13, 2016 4:08 PM

    The NFL did announce though that Jeff Fisher and the Rams will be fined for the crime against humanity that they committed on the field last night.

  20. buzzlightner says: Sep 13, 2016 4:31 PM

    honestly i believe players should have something.. cleats, wrist bands, helmet sticker, eye black, anything really. where if they want to show awareness for somea cause they believe in. not where they are covered in it. just 1 piece.. and maybe even have to have it league approved before hand. i just think it would make sense for people who influence our kids to show awareness. and even make a clothing article that yhey would auction off and donate

  21. orange and blue own the nfl says: Sep 13, 2016 4:59 PM

    The league and all the loony lefties in the media opened this can of worms with Kaep. The 1st Amendment protects him from the government, not from the NFL. They should’ve told him to bag it and say his piece on his own time.
    Now those folks who do love their country want to express themselves as well.

  22. justintuckrule says: Sep 13, 2016 4:59 PM

    Anyone that’s ever been fined for a cleat violation for cleats worn to raise awareness for something should run to a lawyer right now and sue the pants off the NFL AGAIN!!!! Subjective rules AREN’T rules!

  23. tonebones says: Sep 13, 2016 5:01 PM

    Who are the idiots that are arguing with this decision? So you mean to tell me you’d fine a player for wearing patriotic shoes on 9/11? That’s why Goodell’s running the league. That’s why he has the power to punish as he sees fit. He makes good decisions.

  24. TheCakeIsALie says: Sep 13, 2016 5:03 PM

    What a hit to the integrity of the rules.

  25. coloradical420 says: Sep 13, 2016 5:11 PM

    Why was 9/11 turned into a “Feel sorry for minorities day”?

  26. lewsblues says: Sep 13, 2016 5:12 PM

    they should have fined him $12.50

    or some other low level fine amount …

  27. poguemahonepft says: Sep 13, 2016 5:22 PM

    …first time I have agreed with the BASTARD commissioner…WHO DAT and GO PATS!

  28. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Sep 13, 2016 5:26 PM

    orange and blue own the nfl says:
    Sep 13, 2016 4:59 PM
    The league and all the loony lefties in the media opened this can of worms with Kaep.
    ————————————————————-
    You should feel right at home with lefties worms by now. If not, eight years of Hillary should do it for you. Thankfully, lefties worms have lots of protein which is a good thing (for you) since you’re going to be eating a lot of them.

  29. jag1959 says: Sep 13, 2016 5:32 PM

    MiamiDolphinsNationTravelingtoNewEngland says:
    Sep 13, 2016 3:36 PM
    Cleat Tributes Matter!
    ____________________

    There aren’t all that many things more serious than honoring the fallen on 9/11 and the BLM issues. Even for someone coming from South Florida mocking them both does not reflect well on your upbringing.

  30. psubeerman21 says: Sep 13, 2016 5:47 PM

    They should have just fined him, because that’s what they are: a bunch of petty billionaires who are more concerned about a pair of shoes than watching cam Newton get his brains scrambled on national tv. Not fining him seems weak. I hope all of them put crap on their shoes next week, all having to do with legitimate, wonderful charities. See what they do then.

  31. mmack66 says: Sep 13, 2016 5:47 PM

    tonebones says:
    Sep 13, 2016 5:01 PM

    Who are the idiots that are arguing with this decision? So you mean to tell me you’d fine a player for wearing patriotic shoes on 9/11? That’s why Goodell’s running the league. That’s why he has the power to punish as he sees fit. He makes good decisions.
    —————————–

    Either the commissioner should enforce the rules, or he should step down so that they can hire someone that will.

    What basis does he have for fining any other player that wants to wear shoes that support their particular cause?

    Surely a charity that raises money to help fight a disease is just as important as memorializing some past event.

  32. imodan says: Sep 13, 2016 6:42 PM

    coloradical420 says:
    Sep 13, 2016 5:11 PM
    Why was 9/11 turned into a “Feel sorry for minorities day”?
    —————————————————————–
    Because the majority got their panties in a bunch over a back up QB not standing for the Anthem. Had everyone just let this one guy do his thing there wouldn’t be others who feel the need to back his right to do so. If it had been neglected it would have gone away. But no, a national outcry and another us vs. them debate. Jesus this country acts like a bunch of toddlers sometimes.

  33. imodan says: Sep 13, 2016 6:50 PM

    Someone already said it but seriously the uniform police have just been neutered and not a moment too soon. Now maybe players will be allowed to jump up and down when their teams score w/o a stupid, insane 15 yard penalty being called. Then again the court ruled Goodell had final say on all discipline so if Goofy says no fine, dammit, then no fine! Isn’t it wonderful having one guy with the power to dictate how every team or players seasons or careers go at the mercy of his whim??

  34. 4horsemenoftheapocalypse says: Sep 13, 2016 7:48 PM

    So if someone where 9/11 cleats this week, will they be fined? The box has been opened.

  35. 4horsemenoftheapocalypse says: Sep 13, 2016 7:50 PM

    Should be.. so if someone else wears 9/11 cleats this week, will they be fined? The box has been opened.

  36. rcali says: Sep 13, 2016 8:36 PM

    Funny, when is the last time the media fell over themselves for a back-up QB? Hmmm, that guy is playing baseball right now. Just saying. Of course that other guy respects his country.

  37. rmc1995 says: Sep 13, 2016 10:13 PM

    Cause? What cause did he support by wearing shoes memorializing an historical event?

  38. bigdawgdaddy says: Sep 14, 2016 6:52 AM

    He shouldn’t be fined and Brady should have gotten a year suspension….a lot of still salty crying Patriot fans here needing a diaper change.

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