On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward took to Twitter to state that the NFL had fined him for using his eye black to honor his late father Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who passed away due to a brain tumor in 2006.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 14, 2015
This is not the first time this week that the NFL’s frankly ridiculous restrictions on personal messages has been in the spotlight. Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams was told by the NFL that he couldn’t wear pink cleats for the whole season to help raise breast cancer awareness despite the fact the league is draping the entire league in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For what it’s worth, this is the NFL’s official stance on personal messages.
Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. All such items must relate to team or League events or personages. The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns. Further, such armbands and jersey patches must be modest in size, tasteful, noncommercial, and non-controversial; must not be worn for more than one football season; and if approved for use by a specific team, must not be worn by players on other teams in the League.
The fine was for $5,787.
NFL fined Cam Heyward exactly $5,787 for displaying personal message on his eye black, even if it was a tribute to his father, “Iron Head”.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 14, 2015