Cam Heyward fined for eye black tribute to his father

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Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward recently wanted to honor his late father, Craig, during his team’s Week Four game against the Ravens. And so he did, applying the words “Iron” and “Head” to his eye black.

And, inevitably, Cam Heyward has been fined for the gesture.

“Got fined for honoring my Dad who bravely fought cancer on my eye black,” Heyward said on Twitter.

Heyward is the second Steeler this week to take issue with the league’s refusal to allow players to honor family members beyond the narrow exception for pink in the month of October. Running back DeAngelo Williams wanted to wear pink in his uniform all year to honor his mother, who died of breast cancer last year at the age of 53. The NFL said no.

The league is being criticized for its stance as to Williams, and the league surely will be criticized for fining Heyward. While the league obviously needs to set barriers on when and how the uniform will be something other than, you know, uniform, the NFL has created this problem by allowing deviation from the concept of a uniform for two specific causes.

They do it in October for breast cancer awareness, and they do it in November for the “Salute to Service.” While both are worthy causes, why does the NFL select those two but no others?

How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?

The NFL has invited these questions and any ensuing criticism by selecting two causes to the exclusion of all others. Maybe there should be a way to use the NFL platform to promote other causes, too.

76 responses to “Cam Heyward fined for eye black tribute to his father

  1. Why hasn’t the NFL fined the San Diego Chargers clock operator for the failure to do his or her job?

    Still waiting for an explanation Rog…

  2. Rule 5 Section 4 Article 8.

    It might be dumb, but it is a rule.

    Should the Steelers get together and put cash in a bag to cover these fines? Absolutely.

  3. How is what you put on your skin part of the uniform? Are tattoos also going to start getting fined? What if he had IRON and HEAD tattooed under his eyes?

    What stupidity….

  4. “How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?”

    You couldn’t have made a better argument on behalf of the NFL for the ban that exists on alterations to uniforms. The league makes a goodwill gesture by carving out an exception and the result is they get criticized because it’s not enough.

    The desire of a segment of the media to disparage the league simply can’t be satiated.

  5. Gee, I wish my friends who died of cancer – one to colon, the other melanoma (skin) – would have read this article to find out their cancers were preventable. And please let me know how to prevent prostate cancer so I can bypass those pesky annual buggerings by my doctor.

  6. I’ll never forget wrapping up freshman football practice, and while we were stretching, seeing Iron Head leading his Passaic High School squad down the hill to our field for a scrimmage with our varsity team. Talk about imposing! Guy is legendary in North Jersey. Props to you Cam. I’m thankful you’re a Steeler!!

  7. I get why they have rules related to the uniform. Can’t they just allow players to request an exemption (including pictures, etc.) for these things? NFL can review on a case by case basis, even only allow a player to file it for one game a year?

    DeAngelo is asking to keep wearing what they are in October. I see less an issue with that, than with Cam (which I also don’t see an issue with). And they should have let Peyton wear black high tops to honor Unitas.

    The NFL – keeping us free from the scourge of uniform violations. The refs can’t do their jobs, but let’s make sure no one is wearing pink in November!

  8. How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?

    _____________________

    Follow the money. Breast cancer awareness is huge money and I am not talking about research dollars.

  9. I don’t know if it’s a stupid rule, but it’s an inequitable rule. Why should owners be allowed to have a patch added to the uniforms to commemorate the passing of their spouse. I understand the sentiment but it does raise the spectre of a rule being applied inequitably.

  10. Seriously, while the effort to raise awareness of breast cancer is noble (and is being carried out on many, many fronts) couldn’t the NFL make a bigger impact getting the message out to it’s >80% male audience that regular prostate exams and colon screenings will save lives. They could use the uber-macho image of NLF’ers saying they get regular exams and so should Joe Six pack.

  11. NFL has no shame lol. Why wont 1 player just out the NFL?…seriously? Specifically, someone that doesn’t have many seasons left, that peoples will listen to.

    Call them out on all the BS. Give a well-known reporter exclusive “out the door” interview and drop the hammer. Get this front office gone…and fast. It shouldn’t be embarrassing to root for an NFL team…..

  12. Eye black is a uniform item???

    Troy Vincent and Roger Goodell ladies and gentleman, their here all year…unless we get very lucky

  13. Why does honoring his dad (and in the other case, his mom) have to be public and against the concept of a uniform? He could easily have honored his father another inconspicuous way like a T-shirt under the pads/jersey. The message is the same with one single difference…nobody would know and so he wouldn’t get the attention he is really looking for.

  14. 1) Ironhead Heyward was one of my very favorite all-time players.

    2) The eye black was very subtle and IMO very personal. If only Heyward had put on FanDuel and DraftKings everything would have been OK.

  15. While I understand the need to limit player messages on uniforms, especially to avoid ones that might be vulgar and insensitive…and the necessity to remind players that their uniforms represent the business/organization they are employed by and not themselves…and the importance of uniforms falling in line with the rules of the game for the refs…I can’t agree with this fine.

    I see players flash gang signs and adjust equipment to honor gangs, and nothing is done. Isn’t that more problematic than a player that wants to honor his dead parent, one that played in the NFL no less?

    Garbage…

  16. Why did they choose breast cancer and salute to service?

    Because of color schemes/patterns. It’s easy to see the pink towels, shoes, gloves, etc. Likewise, it’s easy to distinguish camouflage smatterings here and there.

    What are they going to do for colon/prostate cancer, Florio?

    Add a bunch of brown towels, gloves, shoes?

  17. It’s simple.

    The pink/breast cancer stuff is to attract female viewers ($$$$$) and the Salute To Service is a classic PR move ($$$$$).

    You didn’t think the NFL does these things out of the kindness in their hearts, did you?

  18. I’m on the NFL’s side for once. If you let one player make an exception to the rule you’re going to end up with players taking a mile when given an inch.

  19. probably falls under “conduct detrimental” which is short for “conduct detrimental to income”

  20. “How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?”
    ——————————

    hoo boy – love to see the outcry if the nfl decided to now take 3 week away from breast cancer (led by PFT I’m sure)

    Look, there are thousands of causes, the nfl can’t support all of them.

    If I was Tomlin, or let me rephrase that, a competent nfl coach for the Steelers I think I’d be telling my guys to concentrate more on football and less on trying to skirt the uniform rules. They’ve got a whole offseason for their causes.

  21. dumbaseinstien says:
    Oct 14, 2015 3:15 PM

    Punishing players who honor their family’s battles with cancer while allowing the Cheater Brady to play. The league is a complete joke these days

    ——–

    can you even comprehend that the league doesn’t have a say whether or not Brady plays?

  22. As usual with Goodell and Co., it is all about power. They want to control players as much as possible. “First comes the power, then comes the money, then come the women.” Scarface

  23. “How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?”

    —————————————-

    I don’t see PFT doing anything either. Maybe you should take the initiative and write one article a week as a tribute to those who suffered from those diseases and maybe their successes as well?

  24. Have the refs that blew the call against the Lions been fined? Both the ones at Seattle this year and Dallas last year? And the employee that created the confusing “you can’t challenge a bad call” that happened on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago?

  25. Because the Susan G foundation as well as the military are in the racket with the league to fleece as many people as possible. Next the Clinton Foundation will get a month to collect from idiot people who cannot see the forest for the trees. BTW Ironhead was a beast of a baller! To hell with them Cam! Good job!
    Go Hawks!

  26. The NFL has contracts with vendors, advertisers, and merchandise suppliers. Therefore they are legally bound to enforce strict uniform rules per their contract with Nike, Reebok, UA, etc.

    I don’t know of a specific advertiser on eyeblack though.

    Where is the PC police on the fact that men are being discriminated against by Breast Cancer Awareness month? There is no “prostate Cancer Awareness month” nor is Breast Cancer awareness targeted to men as well since men can get breast cancer.

  27. Ah yes, “salute to service”. Nothing like a little tax-payer financed military propaganda. There are few things I find more inspiring than the government filling corporate pockets under the guise of patriotism.

  28. When I was hired my company told me what was acceptable attire with a website to go to if I had any questions. I didn’t need to be told twice. NFL though has it’s priorities all screwed up here and they need to fix it. Here is the fix, one weekend a year we dress everybody up in whatever color represents whatever they are supporting and we move on and get back to the game of football. The Hot Pink already has gone way too far.

  29. I would love to see whether a player would be fined if he had “love Goodell” scribed on his eye black. I would bet that rather than being fined, he would be selected as player of the week.
    Goodell is a Narcissist and needs to be fired. Don’t let this fall through the cracks just because the season has started. He is ruining the league.

  30. dryzzt23 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 3:30 PM

    I don’t know of a specific advertiser on eyeblack though.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    While the eye black was where the violation occurred, the rule violated is in relation to personal messages.

    As far as your “PC Police” question…

    The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2015 are:

    -About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed

    -About 440 men will die from breast cancer

    -Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.

    Maybe we DO need breast cancer awareness month still….

  31. Also, you can’t wear a head band that reads “Rozelle”.
    We’ve known this for thirty years. Nothing new here, people.

  32. “How about prostate cancer? Colon cancer? Skin cancer? All three are deadly but preventable. How about one week in October for each of those causes?”
    ===============================================

    Simple. The NFL wants the money from women. They can sell pink merchandise, gain female viewership, and give a teeny portion (minus the 6 figure executive salaries, “expenses”, private jets, etc) to charity.

  33. A warning would have done the job instead of now taking money from the man.

    The NFL is so intertwined in our Sunday’s, but it is becoming easier and easier to just check the scores while out doing other stuff.

  34. it’s a dress/uniform code for a reason. while it is a nice gesture it is a slippery slope. You allow Williams to wear pink all year then you have to let any player who wants to honor anyone wear any color/icon they want. Next thing you know every teams uniform is just a base color with multiple colored accents throughout the team. The RB wants to wear pink for his mom, the QB wants to wear green for his dad, The WR wants to wear red for his brother, if it was going to be that I’m sure the NFL would just sell advertising space on jersey’s and make money off of it. The NFL is not saying they can not honer their family members, they are just saying you have to wear the mandated uniform.

    As for the two ‘charities’ that the NFL allows to manipulate the uniform, i wouldn’t be surprised to find out that these ‘charities’ pay for the opportunity, much like advertisement. pay the NFL X amount to put the players in pink accents for a month, collect X time 10 in donations from it. win – win

  35. How does writing IRON HEAD on his eye black honor his late father?

    Couldn’t he have written it on his forearm with a sharpie or something?

  36. steelerben…..I’ll add this, courtesy of the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

    1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime

    breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women

    breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women

    each year it is estimated that 220,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die

  37. So why then does Greg Hardy get to paint a symbol on his cheeks each week that looks kinda like a 4 year old tried to draw a gun?

  38. If it wasn’t for gambling & fantasy football (which is the same thing) I wouldn’t bother watching & supporting the clowns in charge. I hope there is a special place in hell for whoever made these rules & enforced em

  39. Honestly the pink thing has run it’s course and should be set aside. Their should be no exceptions to the rule book as it opens the door for this person and that person who wants to promote their charity.

  40. paulrevereshorse1775: Thank you for adding those statistics. While the disease is much more prevalent in women, it also effects men. It can also effect your pets, which is another great reason to spay and neuter, as that reduces the chances of it developing in them.

    The NFL may be focused on celebrating women who are survivors, some may even suggest exploiting those women, but it is the right time to become more knowledgeable about this disease.

  41. The NFL is dumb but I am sure he will gladly trade the fine to honor his dad. The leagues should at least let him donate the money to a charity of his choice

  42. Did the Bengal get fined for LEAH STRONG last year?

    Several Cinci players did that along with Dad… Hmmm,
    so a Daughter who is alive, trumps a Father who has passed?

  43. 92% of money raised by the NFL* during October’s breast cancer awareness month, will never go to cancer research. What about the integrity Rodger?

  44. League should dictate ONLY pants, jersey, and helmet. Players should be able to choose their own shoes, socks, gloves, mouth-guard, towel, hand-warmer, eye-black, and hair color. If the league doesn’t want players doing endorsements of brands/products during games, they can require brand names be removed or covered up. Other than that there is no reason they should give two craps about the color of a guy’s cleats. There are bigger issues that the league office continues to ignore and gloss over.

  45. They do it in October for breast cancer awareness, and they do it in November for the “Salute to Service.” While both are worthy causes, why does the NFL select those two but no others?
    ——-
    1. Because when you own the team and the league you can do what you want.

    2. If they have all teams do it (wearing pink), then that’s the “uniform”, and not an exception.

  46. nthewoods
    Oct 14, 2015, 1:40 PM CDT
    How is what you put on your skin part of the uniform? Are tattoos also going to start getting fined? What if he had IRON and HEAD tattooed under his eyes?

    What stupidity….
    ——
    But….he doesn’t.

  47. 13arod
    Oct 14, 2015, 1:41 PM CDT
    Someone has got to take this a hole NFL to court they are violating freedom of speech…
    ——-
    Another person that has no idea what freedom of speech means. I’m not shocked.

  48. I’d really like to see the NFL supporting more animal causes. Maybe players could glue ears or tails on their uniforms in honor of their dead pets. Or that college that just found out their mascot has bovine leukemia could attach horns to their helmets.

    “The greatest way to honor those we’ve lost is to violate uniform restrictions.”
    – Mother Theresa

  49. rootpain
    Oct 14, 2015, 1:56 PM CDT
    I don’t know if it’s a stupid rule, but it’s an inequitable rule. Why should owners be allowed to have a patch added to the uniforms to commemorate the passing of their spouse.
    ——–
    THEY OWN THE COMPANY!!!!

    Why is this concept so difficult for so many of you to understand?!

  50. Why doesn’t the NFL allow each player to wear one item where they can honor their heartfelt causes each week? Maybe it’s a patch on the jersey, or a wristband, or a helmet sticker, or whatever. As long as it’s the same for all the players.

  51. I think the players have a better idea what the fans want than the owners and league office.
    If this had been going on in the 70s there would have been no Billy “White Shoes”; they’d still be playing in black high tops; take it back a bit further and you’d probably have to look at those horrid Steelers throwback uniforms every week.
    Yeah, I know the teams and league change unis from time to time. That doesn’t make them better (just look at the Jags, Browns, to name a couple) it just means they can sell you slightly different over priced gear all over again.
    Let the players have a little room to express themselves; just don’t let them start wearing “Eat at Joe’s” on their butts.

  52. “You can’t do that,” Goodell said.
    “Why not?” we ask.
    “Because you can’t!” Roger exclaims.
    “I am the law!” Roger exclaims again.

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