The NFL has been notorious for their petty fines for players wearing non-NFL approved attire for years now, they have even fined players for things as inconsequential as the color of their socks in the past. For one week only, Week 13 to be exact, the NFL is relaxing that policy and will be allowing players to wear cleats (and maybe more) with charity messages or support for causes of the players' choices.
With some catches of course, this is still the NFL we are talking about folks. The league will still have to approve or disapprove the messages before the players will be allowed to sport them on the field. Then afterwards, the players will have to donate their shoes to auctions with the money from the sale going directly to the causes of their choice.
This is a great idea for the NFL and a good compromise on allowing players a little more latitude to use the platform the NFL provides to allow them to help support causes they care about. Within reason though, and that is where there may be some controversy over the overall good deed the NFL is performing here.
What will happen when the inevitable happens and the NFL disapproves cleats for some of the more sensitive topics? The NFL is putting themselves in a bit of a corner here. They either will have to allow messages for causes like Black Lives Matter and other politically sensitive topics, or they will get the backlash for not allowing those voices to be among the ones heard on the field from their players.
It is a very unenviable position to be in because the current divisiveness in America basically guarantees that there are going to be passionate people peeved no matter what decision is made. Hopefully not, hopefully people just see the good that the NFL is doing by allowing these messages to be spread nationally and celebrate the good will of it all.
It is hard not to assume that either they will allow controversial messages to be displayed on player cleats or there will be controversy over not allowing certain messages to be displayed though. It's sad but that's the world we live in right now. That is a cynical view to take, but is it still paranoia if there actually are people that are out to get you?
Maybe the world will surprise me and take this as the good will it deserves to be seen as, one can hope anyway. I won't be surprised when the whole thing backfires in the NFL's face though. This is a classic case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
The only saving grace would be if players chose to avoid controversy on their own, but is there really any question about what cause Colin Kaepernick is going to want to put on his cleats?
NFL players can wear custom cleats for charity this week without being fined - SBNation.com
Players will wear cleats to support and raise money for causes that are near and dear to them.
NFL cleats: League to allow personal messages | SI.com
For one week, the NFL will relax its rules and allow players to share personal messages on their cleats.
NFL players to wear custom cleats for causes of choice in Week 13
Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott is among a number of players planning to wear custom cleats representing their charity of choice this week.
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