NFL won’t keep Cameron Heyward from playing with “Ironhead” eye black tribute


Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward has, for the second time, violated the NFL’s rules regarding the use of personal messages by putting “IRON” and “HEAD” on his eye black, as a tribute to his late father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.

For a second offense under the NFL fine schedule, Heyward will lose $11,576.

Per a league source, the consequence for any and all subsequent offenses will be additional fines — and the amount will not increase beyond $11,576 per infraction. Although the league has at times informed players who, for example, intend to wear non-conforming shoes that they will be prevented from taking the field, the source says the league will not stop Heyward from playing or compel him to remove the strips containing a personal message.

Behind the scenes, the league will work with the Steelers in an effort to persuade Heyward to comply with the uniform rules. The hope is that, eventually, Heyward will decide to stop forfeiting five figures per week to the league’s charitable endeavors.

Because, however, the gesture is only seen occasionally during the game broadcast and because Heyward’s violation arises from a desire to honor a family member and not to draw attention to a flashy piece of footwear, Heyward will be allowed to play indefinitely with the message below his eyes.

So, basically, no one is keeping Heyward from honoring his father. Instead, the league will charge him more than $11,000 per week for the ability to do so.

44 responses to “NFL won’t keep Cameron Heyward from playing with “Ironhead” eye black tribute

  1. Seen occasionally by some in the league office.

    Noticed by absolutely nobody anywhere otherwise.

    Good job, NFL.

  2. Let them write anything that isn’t profane or a related to an endorsement. I hated the rival Bears when I was a kid, but I couldn’t wait to see what Jim McMahon would write on his headband. In this case, it isn’t even rebellious, it’s a son paying tribute to his late father who happens to be a former NFL player. The NFL needs to lighten up. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Even though I think these fines go too far, the fact that he’s getting fined has brought far more attention to Iron Head Heyward than the eye blacks would have by themselves.

    In that sense, the whole thing is playing out extremely well.

  4. 8% of the proceeds of pink NFL Merch goes to cancer research.


    From a tax-exempt company that made $9 billion last year.

    Think about that.

  5. Cam is a class act like his father. I understand the importance of breast cancer awareness, but I wish more was made of heart disease awareness. More women die from heart disease then all cancers combined.

  6. The Steelers should simply pay his fines for him, because at least they would be acting like adults.

    The NFL can’t even figure out what a catch is. Yet they are spending their energy on whether or not a player has writing on their eye black.

    Am I the only one who sees this as absurd?

  7. What this will lead to is precendent.

    Someone will wear “Eat At Joe’s” on their eyeblack and ‘Joe’s’ will gray pay the player more than $11,000 per week to do so.

    Player will then sue the NFL when they don’t let him play, or get an injunction preventing the league from keeping him off the field, when they threaten to do so.

    As is usually the case, the NFL will lose due to inconsistent enforcement of their rules.

    Flat out a can’t win situation for the NFL.

  8. I can see not allowing advertising, religious, or
    personal messages should not be allowed on the field.
    BUT special situations should have a group that could approve game by game exceptions to the rule. I would
    support it, on the other hand, advertising Fantasy
    Football and the Goons that turned a fun sideline into
    a sleezy, back alley, Gambling mess is wrong.
    Then the NFL steps away and lets the mafia in on it!

  9. I think Dan Patrick said it best when said, the NFL doesn’t want to establish a slippery slope. It would be cool if the NFL allowed Heyward and Williams to honor their parents but its too difficult to draw the line. Do you allow players to honor coaches, pets, etc, that hold special meaning to them? Heyward means no harm but the NFL isn’t being heavy handed either.

  10. @kairn42… The NFL gave up it’s tax exempt status. Please use factual statements. Don’t feed a fake narrative to fuel outrage among the uninformed. BTW 8% is better than some charities which take 99% for overhead and 1% for the actual charity.

  11. @bulldog12b

    Know what? You’re right. my bad. They gave it up and will file as taxable organization this year. Doesn’t change the fact that they’ve been doing Pinktober for years now.

    Also, the 8%? Sorry, it doesn’t go to research. It goes to American Cancer Society’s CHANGE program which gives grants to community health care facilities.. but only allowed to give to those within 100 miles of a city that hosts an NFL team.

    You’re right.

    That’s so much better…

  12. The owners and their mouthpiece aren’t interested in preserving the integrity of the game if they are fining a player for showing respect to his deceased father who actually played the game.

  13. “They let Tebow put bible verse on his eye marks. Hmmmmmm”

    I’m pretty sure he only wore that in college, never in the pros…NFL told him “no” just like with Heyward…

  14. It’s only going to be a hundred grand by the end of the season. It’s worth it to him. All he has to say is ‘You can’t put a price on honoring a father.’

    Nuff said.

  15. kairn42 :

    It’s actually less than 1% of “pink” sales that go to breast cancer research.

    Dear NFL,

    Heyward is honoring his late father who died from cancer in CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!!! Specifically breast cancer awareness but find something else to do!! Leave the guy alone!!

  16. Rules are Rules! If you don’t like it get out of the league! This is not high school or college it’s suppose to be professional football, get paid, act like an adult, not a immature brat! Grow Up! or keep paying fines and quit complaining!

  17. ampatsisahypocrite says:
    Oct 18, 2015 11:56 PM

    Only Patriots fans would whine about what he did, just like the way they made up that bogus witch hunt with Ben and the cell phone.

    boy, the patriots are really in your head, aren’t they?

    i see no pats fan complaining about him wearing anything, it’s the NFL that’s complaining.

  18. What gets me is that the NFL is all about the honor and integrity of the game, yet when you have a player like this, who gives all his blood and sweat to the game, honor his father who in this case played for the NFL and also gave his blood and sweat and I’m sure left some of himself on the field, how does the NFL preach to young children about honor when they themselves do something as dishonarable as this, fining a man for honoring his father that played the same game and gave him the inherit abilities and opportunities to do even more than he did. If the price of honor is 11 grand according to the NFL than I’ll chip in to help Cam pay his fines

  19. Um folks, they had to stop the eye black messages because it got, how do you say, a little out of hand. That’s how it goes. A few ruin it for all. You know what the dress code is, follow it. Now let’s get back to the Hot Pink gloves and shoes!

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