The NFL fined Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward $5,787 after Week 5 for wearing eye black with the words ”Iron Head” written on it in honor of his father, former NFL player Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who died in 2006 after battling brain cancer.
For every game last season, Still wrote the message “Leah Strong” on his eye black in support of his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last year.
“When I did it, I had no idea you weren't allowed to do it,” Still said. “It was just something I wanted to do for my daughter to take her out on the field with me. I didn’t really get any backlash from the league.”
Still, who played 12 games for the Bengals in 2014 but was released before the 2015 season began, said he was surprised to hear that Heyward was fined.
Heyward announced Tuesday that he will no longer wear the customized eye black after coming to an agreement with the NFL. He appealed the first fine, but faces a potential second fine of $11,576 for wearing the eye black two weeks in a row.
The NFL has designated October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as the month to honor the fight against cancer, allowing teams to wear pink on their uniforms. However, the league denied Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams’s request to wear pink apparel all season in memory of his mother, who died of breast cancer last year.
- Erin Flynn