The NFL — a.k.a “The No Fun League” as it has been famously tagged — is up to its disciplinary ways again against fashion.
With the emergence of Kanye West’s “Yeezy” line now making its way onto the football field with a brand new line of cleats, players who have a sponsorship with Adidas are debuting the cleats.
Now, you know that the NFL and Roger Goodell were going to have something to say about this new fashion statement, and they responded by issuing a fine to those players who choose to wear the cleats because they do not adhere to the league’s strict uniform policy. This is the same policy that has prompted the league to fine players like Deangelo Williams, who wore pinks cleats in order to honor his late mother who had breast cancer, and William Gay, who wore purple cleats to honor his late mother who died from an act of domestic violence.
So it comes as no surprise that the Yeezy cleats, just a fashion statement compared to the real meaning of Williams’ and Gay’s cleats, are being shot down by the NFL.
Von Miller was the league’s first victim of this Yeezy epidemic when he debuted the cleats on the opening night of the NFL season as his Denver Broncos took on the Carolina Panthers.
How much is the fine you ask? $6,000, to be exact.
For an NFL player, this seems like pocket change, just part of your game check. However, this is not the issue. The issue is that the NFL has continually took a lot of the fun out of the game of modern day football by constricting its players on what and what not to wear. The league has to understand that the players are a direct representative of the culture in which we live in today, where being able to fully express yourself in a fashion sense is very important and vital (especially when you’re a professional athlete and part of your brand is what you’re wearing).
If these players are officially sponsored by these brands, then they should be able to wear the brand they are contractually obligated to represent on and off the field. It shouldn’t matter how the cleats look and that the colors aren’t perfectly in line with the uniform color. What should matter is that the players have the freedom to express themselves in a fashion sense and most importantly, in a way that is not causing the league any type of harm. Adidas understands this, so what they decided to do was cover all of the fines for the players who are wearing their Yeezy cleats.
Deandre Hopkins has been another victim of this fine when he wore the “Yeezy 350” cleats vs the Chicago Bears. After the game, during his interview session, Hopkins was told about the fine that would be heaped upon him and whether he would continue to wear the cleats. To this, Hopkins responded: “Only if Kanye wants to pay the fine.”
Odell Beckham, Jr. attested to how the NFL really cracks down on its players for the slightest of things and how he felt that they target him for almost everything that he does. On September 11th, he wore cleats with a patriotic theme to them.
Via Art Stapleton/New York Giants Beat Writer: “They’ll probably fine me,” Beckham stated, “They fine me for everything. They fine me for smiling.”
This goes to show how quick the league can be to issue out fines and how strict they can be when enforcing their rules. It’s a shame that the same players who drive the league forward in branding, profit, ticket sales, jersey sales, etc are the same players who don’t seem to have the freedom to truly be themselves. Again, the latest fashion trend on the field as far as cleats are concerned is in no way causing the NFL any harm or shame in their brand. The NFL is the most popular and profitable sport in America and it’s because billions of people tune in or pay to come see these same players who you are constantly putting a leash on for things like cleats.
So I applaud the Adidas brand for taking that step to step up for their players. The NFL should follow suit.
How do you feel about the NFL banning the wearing of “Yeezy Cleats”? Let’s talk on here on find me on Twitter @Phenombc3