NFL allowed Alvin Kamara to play with non-conforming cleats


The Grinch may eventually steal some of Alvin Kamara‘s Christmas money, but the Grinch didn’t intervene with Kamara’s ability to celebrate the season.

Given past accounts of NFL players being instructed to remove non-conforming shoes, some have wondered why the league didn’t direct Kamara to change his mismatched green and red Christmas cleats during Friday’s six-touchdown day against the Vikings. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the rules mandate removal or the threat of removal only when the equipment violation presents a safety risk.

If helmets, thigh pads, knee pads, shoulder pads, eye shields, and/or facemasks fail to comply with the equipment rules, the player will be removed from play until the situation is rectified. For other uniform violations, the rules contemplate that the officials won’t intervene, and that the remedy will come from the standard disciplinary process.

As to cleats, a branding issue (for example, if the shoe shows the logo of a company that hasn’t paid for the privilege of outfitting NFL players) also could prompt a directive to change the shoes.

Kamara’s shoes presented neither a safety issue not a branding problem. Thus, he was allowed to wear them, even if he eventually will be making a contribution to the NFL’s equivalent of the Human Fund.

It all makes sense but, unless the rule changed between 2019 and 2020, the handling of Kamara’s cleats conflicts with the league’s handling of non-conforming footwear won in 2019 by Browns receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Beckham and Landry were instructed to change to conforming cleats by the start of the second half. Kamara was allowed to wear shoes that went jingle jangle jingle for the entirety of the game.

Absent a rule change, Beckham’s past complaint that a different standard applies to him has some merit. Regardless, Kamara got to wear his holiday shoes of choice on Friday — and the outcome surely made it worth whatever the fine will be.

12 responses to “NFL allowed Alvin Kamara to play with non-conforming cleats

  1. It should matter that Kamara is an upstanding employee who carries himself in proper regard given his CEO type salary compared to Landry and Beckham. Kamara is a player any boss would be proud to cut some slack.

  2. My problem isn’t that Kamara was allowed to wear the cleats and pay a fine, though I do have a problem with the league’s weird feelings about the colors of players’ cleats. My problem is that other players were definitely treated differently. And I’m a diehard Saints fan. Just another example of how penalty driven the league is. Ok’ Roger does love that power.

  3. Godzilla says:
    December 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm
    So what again was the problem with the cleats? Is mismatched colors a violation?


    If they had both been red, or both been green, he would get a fine there too; NFL rules are that shoes have to be black, white or a “constitutional to the team’s color schemes” which for the Saints means, black, white or gold, but not green or red.

    Is this rule stupid? why yes it is.

  4. He was trying to give the other team a chance by making himself more visible. 6 touchdowns later, we see that it didn’t work.

  5. The NFL has rules that are designed for both the short term and long term benefit of the league. Allowing Alvin Kamara to wear red and green shoes on Christmas Day during a pandemic that has hit our country very hard, was consistent with the right thing to do. The NFL doesn’t screw up very often, and this was no exception.

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