Last week, the NFL fined Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward $5,787 for wearing eye black honoring his father Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who died of brain cancer in 2006. Heyward wore the same eye black in yesterday’s game against the Cardinals, and the league will likely fine him more this time.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported that the league won’t resort to suspending Heyward if he keeps wearing the eye black. Instead, he’ll just have to keep paying the repeat offense of a uniform violation: $11,576.
At some point, Heyward will stop wearing the eye black, and the NFL will move on, put Heyward’s money towards one of its selected charities, and conclude this to be a victory for its policies. And it is a win, because the league didn’t have to bend its rules or make an exception for a player. In no way is this surprising, but that shouldn’t exempt it from being considered an extremely tone-deaf, shitty way to react to a player’s harmless gesture that didn’t make the NFL look bad in any way.