NFL player fined for tribute to late father has a great explanation for why he won't do it anymore

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been in the news recently after the NFL fined him following two recent games in which he wore eye black that said “Iron Head” on it. The message was a tribute to his father, Craig “Ironhead’ Heyward, who died of brain cancer in 2006.

Heyward was fined $US5,787 after each instance, pushing his total fines to $US11,576.

According to Heyward, the gesture wasn’t meant to step on anyone’s toes or offend the league. He simply wanted to honour his father during the month of October, the month the NFL honours breast cancer.

From the Post-Gazette:

“I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes or upset the league office, but I want to continue to do it at least for this month,” Heyward said. “I would love to be able to [do it] this month and make an awareness for all types of cancer. I’m very sincere when I say I’m not trying to be someone who is a rebel against the cause or someone who is against everybody. I care about this league, but I also care about people who are struggling. I understand the struggles they go through. My dad went through that struggle, and I saw it every day.”

Today, Heyward announced on Twitter that he would stop wearing the eye black, and ESPN reported that the NFL would reduce the two fines. Instead of wearing eye black, Heyward plans to honour his late father by forming a new charitable partnership with, where he will sell “Iron Head” eye black stickers. Heyward will donate 50% of the sales to his foundation, Heyward House, which works specifically with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (where he was a patient as a child) and the Southeastern Braid Tumour Foundation, which worked with his father during his battle with cancer.

Heyward’s entire message on Twitter is terrific, and Heyward himself seems like a class act.  

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