[caption id="attachment_11499" align="alignnone" width="657"] DeAngelo Williams' Facebook[/caption] The National Football League will not condone your heinous actions. And by “heinous actions,” I, of course, mean...disregard for the uniform policy. That much was made clear this past week after it was revealed that the NFL denied Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward’s and running back DeAngelo Williams’ attempts to honor their late family members on the field. Already hit with thousands of dollars’ worth of fines for violating the NFL’s uniform policy in Weeks 5 and 6, Heyward will no longer wear the eye black. The crime? Heyward’s eye black spelled out the phrase “Iron Head,” the nickname of his father and former NFL fullback Craig Heyward, who passed away in 2006 from malignant bone cancer. Williams, on the other hand, sought league approval as he searched for a way to honor his mother, Sandra Hill, who was tak- en by breast cancer in 2014. He called up the league’s offices, hoping he would get permission to wear pink accessories throughout the entire season, as opposed to just for the month of October, when the NFL partakes in breast cancer awareness initiatives.
Obviously, this is unacceptable behavior, so Williams instead opted to die his hair pink last year and this season again.
While players like Williams and Heyward continue to get strapped with uniform-related fines – and granted, not every player violates the policy for reasons so noble – the fact that this is where the NFL wants to focus its attention is dis- appointing to say the least. For whatever reason, the NFL wants to make examples out of these offenders – clothing criminals, if you will – yet there are far more important problems that the NFL needs to crack down on. While that includes concussion protocols and suspensions regarding various drug use, the NFL’s way of dealing with domestic abuse continues to be the area where the shield fails the most.
As the NFL is busy collecting money on illegal family tributes, Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys continues to demonstrate not only how little he respects women, but how little the NFL has done to ed- ucate him since he was suspended. His recent comments on what he learned from his suspension and Gisele Bundchen’s looks say as much. “I hope I come out guns blazing,” Hardy, who was sidelined for charges that included throwing his ex-girlfriend onto a couch full of assault rifles, said upon his return, according to Sports Illustrated. “You seen his wife?” Hardy said of facing Tom Brady. “I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game.” That right there is a sorry excuse for a human being, yet at this point it would be ignorant to expect any better of a monster like Hardy. Jerry Jones, though? He should know better. The Cowboys owner went out of his way to defend the flurry of egregious comments made by the violent misogynist he himself signed to the roster, showing a concerning lack of seriousness for the issue.
“We all know that’s just a way of expressing yourself,” Jones said. “I hope his guns are ablazin’.” “When I saw him marry her, Tom went up in my eyes 100 per- cent,” he added in reference to the Bundchen comments. “She’s very, very attractive and it shows what an outstanding individual Tom is.” That there is more than deflection; it is irresponsible passivity on an issue that continues to get ignored at all levels of the league.
Do not worry, though, because while the NFL lets womanizing comments and actions and other serious issues go unaddressed, it at least has focus on the “real” issue. So if you think you can alter your uniform to honor a dead family member and get away with it, think again. Gary Phillips is a journalism major from Ramsey, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.