On Monday October 12, the NFL Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent, informed DeAngelo Williams that there would be no exceptions made to the NFL’s uniform policy. This decision comes after Williams, who lost his mother to breast cancer in May 2014, publicly indicated his intentions to wear pink shoes or wristbands throughout the year to honor her and promote breast cancer awareness.
Williams, who unlike most players, wanted to wear pink all season instead of just during the month of October. Williams has since opted to wear pink highlights in his dreadlocks and will purchase 53 mammogram tests – in honor of his mother’s age when she died – for a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I, nor anyone else, is questioning DeAngelo Williams’ motives with this request. I fully believe that Williams’ goal is to honor his late mother and promote breast cancer awareness. Never the less, I think the NFL, aka the No Fun League, absolutely got this decision right. (Wow, it felt weird writing that.)
The NFL got this ruling right because once you allow this request – regardless of how good-natured and sentimental it seems – you open a gaping black hole. A ruling in favor of Williams and his pink garb will certainly open the door for anyone and everyone to sport their personal agendas on Sundays.
If the NFL allowed Williams to wear pink throughout the season, where do they draw the line?
Would they allow all players to wear different colored sweat bands to honor the death of their family members? What about players who want to sport their personal brand on their bodies during games? What about players selling ad space, therefore forcing fans to watch players run around like a bunch billboards? These are real possibilities if the NFL allowed DeAngelo Williams to sport pink throughout the season.
I often disagree with how the NFL crushes all things involving fun or individuality (i.e. touchdown celebrations), but they got it right here. Allowing this act of individuality, no matter how genuine or good-natured it seems, would open a can of worms.
With that being said, kudos to DeAngelo Williams. His actions are very commendable and I’m sure his mother would be proud.