The NFL has fined Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay $5,787 for wearing purple cleats -- the same cleats Minnesota Vikings players wear -- in honor of domestic violence awareness month, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Domestic violence awareness is a very personal issue to the cornerback. His mother was shot and killed by his stepfather when he was only 7 years old.
Over the past few weeks, the NFL has fined players for breaking the league's rigid uniform code to advocate for certain causes. The Steelers cornerback, upon learning about his fine, offered a solution to the NFL, who've been heavily criticized for punishing players wishing to honor dead parents.
Gay's proposal to the NFL: Give players one weekend of the season for them to "champion a cause of their choice," according to Kinkhabwala.
It's a sensible solution to a silly problem the NFL has brought upon themselves, but of course, the league would likely want to monetize potential "championed causes," as they currently do with their annual October breast cancer awareness campaign.
Gay's proposal would save players and the NFL a good amount of grief, but also, a few thousand dollars on the player's side. Gay's teammate, running back DeAngelo Williams, was also fined for wearing eye black with the message "We will find a cure," in honor of his mother who died of breast cancer. The running back had his request to wear pink all season for breast cancer awareness denied by the NFL earlier in October.
The NFL also fined Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward for wearing eye black with the message "Iron Head" on it in honor of his father who died of bone cancer. Heyward ended up getting his fine reduced as long as the defensive end did not put the message on his eye black again.
On Sept. 30 of this year, President Obama declared October 2015 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. "I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need," he said.
Following Obama's call, the NFL should do its part to support all efforts, especially when players take it upon themselves to advocate for a domestic violence problem that the league itself struggles with.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
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