NFLPA says it will pay Ochocinco’s fine if he wears No. 15

Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco wants to honor Chris Henry on Sunday by wearing his jersey.  The NFL has said that Ochocinco won’t be permitted to wear Henry’s jersey.  We’ve previously said that we support his efforts in this regard, even if it means that he’ll be fined by the league.

Now, George Atallah of the NFL Players Association has announced on his Twitter page that the union “will cover any fine levied on [Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco] . . . and match it with a gift to our Chris Henry memorial fund.”

The situation sets up a potential legal battle between the league and the NFLPA, with the union undoubtedly hoping to score P.R. points in advance of a potential 2011 lockout.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello previously has explained to us in relation to Saints running back Reggie Bush’s past intention to wear non-conforming cleats that no other entity may pay the fine imposed on a player for violating the league’s uniform rules.  We’ve sent an e-mail to Aiello requesting confirmation that this policy still exists.  (We assume it does.)

And if it does, the union could be treading on dangerous ground.  Under the labor agreement, fines imposed by the league are collected directly from the player’s salary.  So the union wouldn’t be paying the fine; it would be making a cash payment to Chad Ochocinco.

But since the union is a federally-regulated non-profit entity that must answer not only to the government but also to its members, a direct payment to a player who was fined for engaging in conduct that violates the unambiguous content of league rules might invite scrutiny from one or more federal agencies — especially if neither NFLPA Executive Director De Smith nor the union’s Executive Committee possess the authority to make such payments directly to individual players.

So keep an eye on this one.  We think the union is desperate to find a way to get the public on its side as 2011 approaches.  The union possibly is hoping to provoke a showdown that could help in its quest to shine a negative light on the No Fun League.

Meanwhile, the Bengals are caught in the middle of this.  The team has full control over the locker room and its contents, and the team can either refuse to give a player a certain jersey or instruct him not to leave the locker room in something other than his assigned uniform.

Likewise, it’s possible that the league would prohibit Ochocinco from entering the game wearing anything other than his own jersey.

The real question becomes whether the league intends to draw a line in the sand on this issue.  If the league does, it might play directly into the union’s obvious P.R. goals.

80 responses to “NFLPA says it will pay Ochocinco’s fine if he wears No. 15

  1. Do it Chad!
    Can’t imagine Bengals fighting Chad on this one. More likely to look the other way.

  2. The NFL wouldn’t allow Jake Plummer to wear a decal with Pat Tillman’s number on his helmet after Tillman was killed. This issue makes the league look small, stupid and petty. Sometimes, a little common sense and compassion are not a bad thing.

  3. I think it would be great if the league would fine Ochocinco just $1 for wearing Henry’s jersey. Seems that all sides would be satisfied with that. Chad can just use the dollar he tried to bribe the official with earlier in the season.

  4. Also Friday, Fifth Third Bank began a memorial fund for Henry’s four children at branches in Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky.

  5. Goodell needs to get off of his frickin high horse. If Chad wants to honor his friend and teammate by wearing his jersey let him.

  6. I usually could do without Chad’s antics, but this one actually has some real intrigue given the Union’s desire to use this as a wedge issue against the NFL. I don’t think the Bengals will cooperate with Chad so he will literally have to somehow smuggle the uniform unto the field, possibly have someone throw it from the stands to him.
    The only way I see him making the field in this jersey is if this gets covered in the media really well and causes the NFL to back off. I thought I read when Sean Taylor died with the Redskins a couple of years ago a player was able to wear his jersey in a game. Please correct me on what really happened.

  7. One game to honor his fallen comrade seems justifiable and would send a positive message about the NFL. How can a man’s passing not be a moment when teammates can dedicate a performance to them by playing with their equipment? Come on NFL! Lets not become like the government now! Only bending the rules for your own sake is no fun!

  8. It’s one game, the number is not retired. Is there a rule already in place saying that you cant switch your number? I’ve seen players switch there numbers when a new player comes on the team with the same number. If you can switch your damn name for Johnson to Ocho Cinco then you should be able to change your damn number. He’s doing it to pay respect to his friend, what is the big deal. He’s not trying to disguise himself as Henry. Just sayin………

  9. Yep just what should be done to honor Chris Henry … break a another rule. Listen this kid began to turn his life around by finally respecting the law and authority, so to honor him someone close to him is going disrespect authority and the rules. Can people be more assinine? This act is childish, selfish and flat out ignorant to who Henry was trying to become. He himself spoke about learning and growing up; why dont those around him honor him by bringing that message to Police Athletic Leagues or schools, and not by thumbing their nose at authority. FLORIO YOU ARE SO OFF BASE ON THIS ONE AND IT IS SAD TO SEE.

  10. I dont think the bengals should let him wear the Jersey it may be a nice gesture by Chad but it will turn out to make him look like more of an attention whore than he already is

  11. Why not just double the contribution to the Chris Henry fund, which I’m sure will come in handy to his 3 kids instead of dealing with a dumbass fine and waste of money

  12. Well, if the NFLPA is attempting to win public support then they have my vote. Seriously… it’s a jersey for one game. Who the hell cares if he wears it – it’s in honor of his friend.
    It’s just like when the good Manning wanted to wear Unitas-style black hightop cleats in honor of Johnny U – yet the NFL didn’t allow it.
    The NFL comes out of this looking more like a bunch of fuddy-duddies sitting around the old folks home bitchin about the weather.
    The NFL is a great sport, I think the best, but sometimes they need to be a little less anal retentive.

  13. I say wear it Chad, the league will look like assholes if they fine him. For once let it go Roger.

  14. Not everything in life is black and white. There is alot of life that falls into a grey area – something that is new to any or all of us. We then test the waters and see how it plays out, only to place it back in the black/white area again.
    This is an obvious grey area. The Bengals just lost a teammate and a friend. The league lost a player. Let the guy pay tribute to his life for ONE week.
    Its honorable, its the Christmas season and its a selfless act to pay tribute to a friend.
    The NFL is like a stubborn old man. Overlooking the ‘rules’ would be the logical and humane thing to do in this instance. Get over yourself NFL. Honestly.

  15. it is just one game and there is nothing wrong with cad doing this. i think there sould be someone from each team to wear henry 15 jersey

  16. Tis a worthy gesture, but I’m not a fan of OchoCinco being the one to honor Henry in this way. Considering Chad’s antics of the past, OchoCinco being the one to wear Henry’s old jersey in tribute cheapens things IMO. Kind of expect OchoCinco to wear a dreadlock wig to top off the tribute.

  17. For you idiots out here who think its all about Chad and ‘opening a can of worms’ for this rule – wake the f*$%# up!
    If you were in a position to honor your friend who had died just days before, you wouldnt cuz certain people would think your seeking attention??
    More morons on this board that on the highway after a snowstorm.
    Its a selfless act to honor a friend. Use some common sense fools. Its the holidays…

  18. i understand chad’s desire to honor henry, and i think it speaks volumes about the character of the (majority of the) players in the league that the nflpa has stepped up in this capacity. it’s a shame about the legal ramifications, but really no surprise.
    my only problem with chad wearing #15 is the (obvious) issue of self-promotion…yes, they were good friends. yes, they played the same position. yes, it would be very cool to see a bengals player wearing #15 on sunday. but WHY CHAD? isn’t there another way to show support that does not hinge on the actions of ONE person out of 50+ on that sideline?
    why not do what uconn did all year for jasper howard and put the jersey/helmet on a stand on the sideline for everyone to see? that way, when ocho (or anyone in orange and black) scores, they can “celebrate” by going over and embracing the effigy–maybe keep any TD balls under the figure as well and then give them to henry’s family.
    i love chad and (for the most part) think his antics are good for the game. but he needs to realize that the WHOLE ORGANIZATION is mourning, and that the tribute should show that.
    who dey.

  19. @KingJoe! This country was built on the idea that when authority is wrong you question it. In this case, authority= The NFL and the NFL is WRONG. I’m sure there will be plenty of charities and funds setup and donated to because of this tragedy, but we’re talking about a personal tribute from one friend to another. It’s part of the grieving process and Chad should be allowed. Any workplace in America should be sensitive to that.

  20. The NFL should just go ahead and give a special one-game exemption for a situation like this. It’s not going to hurt anything and it’s a nice gesture that everyone should feel good about.

  21. They told Jake he could not wear a decal to honor an America Hero! I may not follow this league any more that’s just Stupid.
    Let him wear the jersey during warm ups.
    Both men should be honored in some way!
    That said I don’t want to compare Henry to Tilman really different guys.

  22. @KingJoe-I’d have to say your the one that is off-base with this one. I understand why there is a rule in place for Uniforms, but it’s not like Chad is asking to wear a cape on his back in honor of his friend. He’s asking to switch his number for 1 game. I don’t know the NFL’s policy for number changes, but like I said above i’m pretty sure players have changed there numbers mid-season before. I think Chad’s doing a good thing, and I hope he goes through with it no matter what the fine is.

  23. Yeah, nothing like drawing attention to yourself and away from person you’re attempting to remember.

  24. I’m getting too old to think that this is a face value gesture that is ulterior-motive-free. But if the NFLPA is using this to”score points” then they are shameless rooster extractors.

  25. First of all, the readers of this site are some of the most unintelligent people I’ve ever come across.
    Second of all, wear the number Chad. It’s a good move. I remember this scenario came up when Peyton wanted to honor Unitas and they threatened to fine him. He chickened out. Don’t chicken out Chad!!

  26. This reminds me of the fairly recent phenomena of shrines popping up at the site of fatal accidents, or the big R.I.P. signs painted on the rear windows of cars.
    These things really don’t honor someones memory…how about making a contribution to a worthy charity in the persons name?
    Volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
    Talking to kids at schools to stress the importance of getting an education.
    Might mean a bit more than wearing a jersey.

  27. Had it been a different, low key person who wanted to wear #15 it would get more support from me, but Ochocinco’s constant antics to draw attention to himself sort of make this look bad.
    From here out, Ochocince might want to refrain from getting himself fined and donate his earmarked “fine” money to the fund set up for Chris Henry’s family. That would show some selfless class.

  28. In the Plummer case he did wear Tillmans number on his helmet for the whole game and happily paid the fine
    Me I’d be happy to paypal OchoCinco 20$. He’d collect the money in no time.
    Let’s say the ref’s eject OchoCinco? The whole team might just walk off the field. It would be a very ugly forfeit that would make NFL management look very bad.

  29. The NFL wouldn’t allow Jake Plummer the honor of wearing Pat Tilman’s jersey # on a decal after his death on the battlefield by U.S. gun fire so I didn’t for a minute think they’d let OchoCinco honor his teammate by wearing Henry’s jersey on Sunday vs the Chargers. In both instances the NFL’s decision was cold-hearted and unneccesary.
    Here’s hoping OchoCinco somehow gets Henry’s jersey on the field Sunday.

  30. I like the gesture. It’s not Chad being Chad. It’s very real for him. The fools on here who suggest otherwise are jaded and perhaps have never lost someone close to them.
    Perhaps the whole team should wear #15. That would be honoring a TEAMmate and would also be very amusing (especially when the refs had to call a penalty).

  31. stadanko – You are really pull out the wrong card here. This isnt about standing up to the King on over taxing, this is about controlling a big business. Where does it end? Every player starts honoring their mother or father who passed, a coach, come now on the field is not where this should take place.

  32. Actually, the comments here saying that it’s just like Manning’s black high tops have a good point.
    The NFL can’t possibly allow Ocho to wear this jersey, lest they open themselves up to obvious criticism over past requests to honor someone on the field, which include a man slain in his home during a break in, something far more honorable than being thrown from the back of a truck during a domestic dispute.
    That’s not to take anything away from the tragedy those kids face, but for the NFL to imply that Henry’s situation is worthy of looking the other way, but Sean Taylor’s death wasn’t, would be a worse PR nightmare than simply following the rules on this one.

  33. I hope the league fines him significantly! This is another Chad Johnson publicity stunt for himself. If Chad didn’t have a reputation as a selfish self promoter, perhaps the league would have granted this request, but Chad is a bumm…….fine him and give it to the kids! I hope the union violates some laws! Too bad the libtards are in charge and will just look the other way!

  34. best case scenario: Chad OC wears the jersey, gets fined a million bucks, union pays it and matches with a million dollar donation to the Chris Henry memorial fund. Everybody wins including various charities.

  35. All of you that are arguing against the NFL are obviously either third graders or have zero experience in managing anything much less a big organization. If the league let’s little crap antics from Chad Johnson (becuase that’s all this is, an attention gainer for him to distract the fact that he’s not a top tier WR) then it has no weight in trying to enforce rules that matter grow up yo little children.

  36. so where was the NFLPA when Pat Tillman was killed serving our country and wanted to be honored?
    least Tillman passed away doing something heroic.

  37. If Ochodickmo wasn’t such a fool with his ignorant and disrespectful antics for the game, this would be a non issue, and the NFL would approve honoring Chris Henry by letting ‘Dickmo’ wear the Jersey.
    Once a fool, always a fool, Chad has no one to blame but himself.

  38. Hey Goodell, what ever power trip your on, please get over yourself. Ochocinco wants to do this in honor of his friend so let him. As long as its only for this game. I see no reason for fines here. I actually don’t see reason for most of the fines you hand out. The way the NFL is acting these days, they must want a lockout. Goodell is ruining the sport with all the pitty patter fines he hands out. I am on Ochocinco’s side for this one. I wouldn’t care if the whole team wore #15 jerseys for a game. I’m sure Chris wouldn’t mind and he would actually just laugh.

  39. I think it would be a tremendous gesture on Chad’s part. At some point, the NFL needs to understand this is a game of emotion and people, not just “product”… DO IT CHAD!!!! I’ll help you pay the fine!

  40. I wouldn’t have a problem with him wearing Chris Henry’s jersey if everything Chad Johnson did not be so Goddamn self serving and attention demanding.
    maybe deep inside its a sincere gesture but it’s tough to wade through all the BS this guy does to know for real.
    If anyone else on the team wanted to wear the jersey it’d be fine, but as punishment for everything this jackass does, he should not be allowed to exploit his friends death as yet another way to draw attention to himself.

  41. You know what would be cool? If the NFLPA started paying for medical bills for retired players who have NOTHING and struggle with mental issues and cannot live a normal life instead of paying for a self obsorbed, overhyped player to commit a premeditated violation of league rules.
    I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

  42. CincyJungle says:
    I thought I read when Sean Taylor died with the Redskins a couple of years ago a player was able to wear his jersey in a game. Please correct me on what really happened.
    – those were his Redskin teammates who made the Pro Bowl that year, not a regular season game.
    i’m not sure how i feel about this. i KNOW the league will make it ugly and i do think the Bengals end up unfairly in the middle of all this.
    TheGooch says:
    Why not just double the contribution to the Chris Henry fund, which I’m sure will come in handy to his 3 kids instead of dealing with a dumbass fine and waste of money
    – that’s the best suggestion i’ve seen though.
    dont_trash_the_nati says:
    why not do what uconn did all year for jasper howard and put the jersey/helmet on a stand on the sideline for everyone to see? that way, when ocho (or anyone in orange and black) scores, they can “celebrate” by going over and embracing the effigy–maybe keep any TD balls under the figure as well and then give them to henry’s family.
    – i like that idea as well. one thing that’s apparent is people should be worrying less about one jersey tomorrow and more about those kids’ well-being going forward. maybe they place his equipment on the bench and place any TD balls nearby. the more i think about it though the more intentionally receiving any sort of fine seems disrespectful, especially when that amount would be better served going to Henry’s kids.

  43. I had a feeling that Ochocinco would do this.
    It’s a good idea by Chad and props to the NFLPA.
    Fining has really got out of hand in the league. Period. This isn’t just about Ocho/Henry….for the NFL to act like this is procedure and they can’t simply just ignore it is ridculous, they should have learned from the Jake Plummer situation.

  44. Can’t Cinci’s coaches wear #15 jerseys in non game-day colors? Takes Ochocinco out of the equation, although he’ll still probably do something. But at least it won’t set up a conflict between the NFL and the players’ union, when the goal is to honor Henry’s memory.

  45. I’m surprised the league wouldn’t allow him – they looked like absolute fools punishing people for wearing Tillman’s number on their clothing. I guess if they aren’t making money off of it, it can’t happen. I’m sure if someone wanted to wear an extra Reebok label they would be cool with it.

  46. So Florio’s support means he’ll be mailing a check to Chad’s fund?
    Didn’t think so.

  47. I have to admit that over the years Chad has played for the Bengals, I at first found him obnoxious. However, as of late i must say, I was wrong. The guys antics at first were off putting, but he actually has a pretty decent personality. I hope he wears the jersey as a tribute… I’ll throw ten bucks in on the fine.. all this comin from a Steeler fan no less..

  48. well if they wouldnt let people wear anything to commemorate unitas or tillman…
    then put the kibosh on this too.
    of course it is about race. the blacks want chad to be allowed to do it. and they dont give a rip about whether whites got punished or threatened before.
    and henry was no unitas. or tillman. jumping into a pickup truck and falling out/off, with a broken arm, in the middle of a domestic dispute, is not evidence of being a good person, with sound judgment, with one’s life turned around. it really just shows he was still an accidental end waiting to happen. maybe he wasnt the “bad guy”. but i see no evidence he was the “good guy”.
    i agree with the guy who said chad should donate $ (not to mention time) to henry’s kids.
    but we all know chad backs out on financial promises, dont we?

  49. perhaps instead of whatever fine money the league is going to charge Ocho going to the human fund, they should just send it to the Fund for henry’s kids.
    Ocho isn’t going to mind making a donation to that, and the league cannot be accused to bending rules for some players and not for others, and they can save face in the eyes of the public. Hell, if anything, they actually come out of this looking better than before.

  50. The league is bad in this regard. A few years back they wouldn’t let Manning wear high tops as a tribute to Johnny Unitas after he passed away.

  51. I bet if Brady wanted to wear a videocamera in honor of his precious coach ,Goodell would embrace the idea..or burn it ..LOL

  52. I’m not trying to be a dick about this, but in regards to Henry’s kids getting additional money or funding from other sources — wasn’t their dad an NFL player that, presumably, made a bigtime salary (compared, say, to what my dad made as an engineer, who got paid pretty damn well)? Presumably, shouldn’t these kids be seeing some of that salary money coming their way at some point in their futures, and, assuming so, should the salary of an NFL player be enough to make those kids pretty well set?
    Assuming so, why is there a need for external funding sources that are set up to ensure that his kids are set?
    If I’m wrong on any of this (e.g., Henry’s kids are not entitled to any part of his earnings, Henry had no money saved from his earnings, there are no external sources of funding that go to his kids [i.e., these memorial funds are not in place to generate proceeds for his children] etc.), then feel free to correct. I’m just curious as to why there is a need for external funds that generate money that go to his kids in the first place, when the guy himself was presumably loaded.

  53. I wish people would admit this for what it has become. It’s not about ‘honoring’ a fallen teammate, it’s become about not letting the MAN push you around.
    Chad could quietly set up a college fund for Henry’s kids [maybe he has, we don’t know], but no. He has to draw attention to himself and all you in the anti-authority crowd get sucked right into it because you don’t like someone telling you what to do. And you’re living vicariously through Chad since you can’t tell your boss off.
    It’s time to grow up and realize that our world has rules. And they are made on logic, not emotion. I’m sure it won’t take long for some posts to appear proving my point.

  54. “Also Friday, Fifth Third Bank began a memorial fund for Henry’s four children at branches in Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky.”
    Why do his kids need charity? Wasn’t he making millions? I would also hope he had some life insurance and a will but who knows with these NFL thugs.
    By the way, I suspect Chad Ochomoron is wanting to wear Henry’s number more for the attention it will bring to Chad than anything else.

  55. I don’t think he’d be allowed on the field, would he? While I think the NFL is being tickytacky about this, it’s the way they’ve always been, and Ochocinco should realize this and find another way to honor his friend.

  56. “I thought I read when Sean Taylor died with the Redskins a couple of years ago a player was able to wear his jersey in a game. Please correct me on what really happened.”
    They let them wear Sean Taylor’s number in the Pro Bowl that year, not a regular season game.

  57. What if the NFL would fine the team and not the individual player. Could the Union some how get the money to the team through a donation for Henry? Then both sides save face.

  58. What if the team supplies everyone with a Henry jersey? Would it be the player’s fault if that is what he is issued by the team?

  59. When Pat Tillman died NO CARDINALS DID ANYTHING IGNORANT. No one went out and wore his jersey…even though they wanted to.
    Chad J – NO RESPECT – IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM….it has nothing to do with Chris.
    If the Cardinals can survive and handle Pat Tillman – a good person
    the Bungles can handle the death of a thug fool who is now being loved just because he died. The dude was in constant troubles…it’s crazy how people love a guy now because he’s gone. When he was on Earth he caused problem after problem….
    NFL should tell the Bungles to put Henry’s jersey away! If Chad wears one the NFL refs should be directed to kick him out of the game.
    Again we handled Pat Tillman with class…they can and should do the same.

  60. he should change his jersey # to 15 for the week then if thats possible. then he could change it back later.

  61. If Goodell wants to possibly start to get the public on the side of the League, then he should most definitely allow Chad to do this. What would Goodell suggest needs to happen if Aiello were tragically killed? Just saying. He needs to stop looking at it from a Commish point of view and start to view it from a human point of view.

  62. @packers4life:
    When Sean Taylor died, a couple Redskins (fellow thugs Moss and Portis and maybe some others) wore #21 shirts under their jerseys at the next game after the murder.

  63. @AZRedBird – I completely agree! Everyone gets put on a pedestal once they die. Henry was a half-rate player who shouldn’t have been allowed in the league anymore.
    Think about it – if you had that many arrests, convictions and problems, would your company still employ you?
    Despite any hardships growing up, Henry was still given entirely too many opportunities. Only his stupid decisions led to him dying.
    Also, OchoDummy is only about self-promotion. The only thing Ocho is sad about is having to share the spotlight. Does he even know that is not how you say ’85’ in spanish?

  64. With all of Henry’s legal issues set aside, think for a moment. You have lost a loved one, a friend that you cared for deeply and always will. No matter what issues they may have had would you not want to honor their memory in ANY way you possibly could? Sometimes legalities go too far, if not for any bit of confusion I would say let the whole team wear the number! And though that may not be realistic, let the team choose the manner in which to remember and show their love for their lost one. And all of you naysayers…. walk a mile in their shoes before you speak.

  65. Ochocinco knew this stand-off would occur. What’s the NFL supposed to do? Make a rule exception for an attention needy guy who repeatedly breaks rules to get attention?
    I used to have respect for Ochocinco and thought he was funny and cool despite being so needy for attention. Now I think he’s a guy who is classless enough to exploit a tragedy to make a media splash.
    Making yourself the center of attention simply isn’t a very respectful tribute.

  66. “hammer1982 says:
    December 19, 2009 4:08 PM
    What if the team supplies everyone with a Henry jersey? Would it be the player’s fault if that is what he is issued by the team?”
    Yeah, what a great idea, send 50 guys out there all wearing #15. And if it wasn’t bad enough having Carson Palmer and his twin brother QB, now you ahve them wearing the same number to boot? That’ll be real fair to the other team, when every faceless masked guy on the field, also has identical jerseys. I’m sure Belichek already tried that one. But it’s going to be more than fines, they wouldn’t even be allowed to play.
    This story is old, and it’s probably too late for anyone to even read this, but I just have to point out what a complete moron you are, even if only me and God read what I’m typing.

  67. This is funny. The NFL won’t let another NFL player honor a fallin player and friend. And if he does he will be fined. Then on another article the NFL wants players to donate brain tissue for research. Correct me if im wrong but shouldn’t you give alittle in order to receive. The most stupid thing i ever heard of. Wear the jersey Ochocinco and let the NFL Players Association cover the fines

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