No Fun League: NFL stifles player individuality

Bryanna McDermott | Asst. Photo Editor

Six thousand dollars — the amount the NFL fined Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for wearing Yeezy cleats against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11, continuing the league’s tyranny against player individuality.

The league claimed the Adidas-manufactured cleats violated the NFL’s 372-word shoe policy which states, “Shoes must be of standard football design.”

“Standard football design” means that cleats must be a solid color, have specific logo placement and the color of the shoe laces must conform “to the dominant color of the tongue area of the manufacturer’s shoe.”

The Yeezy 350s have multiple strikes against this shoe policy, including the fact they aren’t a single color and they have multi-colored shoelaces.

Yes, the cleats were against the NFL’s policy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not crazy.

The league’s uniform policy consists of five whole pages.

That’s right, five pages explaining what players are and are not allowed to wear on the field.

The rules range from socks having to be a certain length to only using a specific color of tape. There’s even a whole paragraph devoted to glove color.

AP Photo Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is upended by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Steve Nelson during the second half of an NFL football game.

Why does the NFL need such strict guidelines for outfitting players?

According to the league handbook, “The NFL Uniform and Equipment policy was implemented primarily for player safety and to ensure that the game and its players are presented in a professional manner.”

So, players can’t wear Yeezy’s because they are either unsafe or unprofessional.

Hopkins isn’t the first player to be fined for his shoe choice, either.

Last season, Pittsburgh cornerback William Gay was fined $5,797 for wearing purple cleats to raise awareness for domestic abuse, of which his late mother was a victim.

But the NFL doesn’t stop at cleats. Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward and running back DeAngelo Williams were both fined last season for wearing eye black supporting cancer.

Heyward sported the words “Iron” and “Head” during a Monday Night Football game against the Chargers to honor his father who died in 2006 from cancer, while Williams wore “Find the Cure” eye black for his mother and aunts who lost their lives due to breast cancer.

“There are a lot of other things we could be worried about,” Heyward told Sports Illustrated when asked about the situation.

And he’s right.

The NFL should be more worried about concussions or safety protocols than what the players wear on their feet or under their eyes.

According to the NFL’s 2015 Injury Data report, there were 271 cases of diagnosed concussions during the year; that’s 65 more than the 206 diagnosed in 2014.

Let the players support their causes and wear their Yeezy’s. It’s not hurting anybody or the league.

These athletes are human beings, not football-playing robots.

Having multi-colored cleats doesn’t change my opinion about a player. As long as they are doing what they are paid to do, I couldn’t care less about what’s on their feet during the game.

The No Fun League needs to put their gavels down and let the players show a little individuality. Just because football is a profession for NFL athletes, it doesn’t mean they can’t have fun.

 

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