Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward has been paying tribute to his late father, former NFL player Craig Heyward who died of brain cancer, by writing his nickname “Iron Head” on his eye black.
According to Heyward, the NFL fined him $US5,787 for violating the NFL’s uniform policy.
Despite the punishment from the NFL, Heyward was back on the field Sunday, once again donning his father’s nickname on his eye black.
Ironically, the NFL pays tribute to breast cancer awareness throughout October, yet won’t let Heyward pay tribute to his father.
Heyward told reporters after being fined:
“To lose a person like that due to cancer, for cancer awareness, I don’t think it should be a big deal at all. … There are a lot of other things we could be worried about. Guys want to do right by the league. They don’t want to upset anybody. I do it to honour somebody, DeAngelo does it to honour somebody, it shouldn’t be taken to offence by anybody. We’re not trying to gain publicity by it. We grew up in this game loving it. To be a part of it is a blessing, but I want to honour [my dad].”
Heyward mentions fellow teammate DeAngelo Williams, who has been finding ways to honour his mother, who died of breast cancer. The NFL wouldn’t grant Williams’ request to wear pink all season, so Williams has gotten creative and died pink streaks in his hair.
While the NFL’s insistence on following uniform rules makes for silly PR when it comes to honouring cancer victims, clearly Heyward and Williams are generating great press by honouring loved ones, despite the NFL’s rules.
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