Just when you thought the NFL couldn’t get any more tone deaf, it has fined Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward for honoring his father, former NFL fullback Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who died of cancer in May 2006. The Ohio State product wore eye black with the words “Iron” and “Head” on Monday Night Football.
He was fined just under $6,000 as a result.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams said the NFL denied his request to wear pink all season to honor his mother, Sandra Hill, who died of breast cancer in May 2014. According to NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, players can only wear pink during October as part of a league-wide initiative during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. No exceptions.
Doesn’t that seem wrong?
In a word, yes.
“Whenever they want the players to promote their agenda, it’s fine, but when the players have something that’s personal to them, (it’s a problem),” That Other Pregame Show host Bart Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “And it’s not something that’s a self-promotion type of thing. Then (the NFL wants) to (crack) down and . . . fine guys and things like that. I don’t understand it.”
Scott reminded listeners that the NFL fined Brandon Marshall in 2013 for wearing green socks for mental health awareness, something that has personally affected him.
And yet, it’s okay to wear pink – at least in October.
“If I was the players, I wouldn’t wear any pink,” Scott said. “It’s a choice. You don’t have to wear pink anything. You don’t want me to express what’s important to me? Usually that’s why we start our charity – because it’s something near and dear. My charity was for paraplegics because my cousin was shot and he became a quadriplegic. That’s what’s personal to me. So the NFL wants to promote what’s personal for them or what’s good for business with them, but I can’t promote something that’s near and dear to my heart? I can’t honor my mother? I can’t honor my father – who, by the way, was also a member of the NFL and this great fraternity? It’s crazy.
“Troy Vincent should know better than that,” Scott continued. “These guys get these positions and they forget who they were. At some point, he should be sitting there not worried about a paycheck. He should be sitting there trying to really relay the message: Listen, we should be able to use our discretion here. This is a guy that wants to honor his mother who’s promoting the same thing we’re promoting. They want us to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and want us to go out and build playgrounds to help expand the borders, but when it’s something that’s near and dear to me, then I can’t do it? Not only do you tell me I can’t do it, but you take money from me? Come on, man.”
Indeed, it’s a tone-deaf response from the NFL, which only wants players to promote what the league is promoting – and only when it says so.
“That’s their goodwill type of deal,” Scott said. “It’s all for promotion. Don’t even let me get on that. (They’re) pushing agendas to try to do stuff for sponsorship. It’s all to look good. . . . They promote it – until they stop. (And then it’s), ‘All right, enough of that.’ It’s a PR machine.”