Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson wore a pair of custom Sept. 11-themed cleats for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, despite knowing he could be fined for not adhering to the league's equipment rules.
Williamson sported the star-spangled blue cleats with red-and white-striped Nike swooshes, featuring the words “Never Forget” and “9/11” on the back of the shoes, with the "11" representing the World Trade Center towers.
“I just felt like I got so much support across the country, and especially when the New York and New Jersey police unions said that they would pay my fine, that really meant a lot," Williamson said to The Tennessean. "So I felt like if I didn’t wear them, I just wouldn’t have felt good about it. I felt like I had to do that, just for myself and to represent the people that were lost and the people that do their jobs every day to protect us. I feel like it was just a duty.”
NFL rules state that teammates must have the same color scheme on their shoes.
"Each player may select among shoe styles previously approved by the League office," NFL rules state. "All players on the same team must wear shoes with the same dominant color. Approved shoe styles will contain one team color which must be the same for all players on a given team."
A first offense for a uniform violation will cost a player $6,076 this season, with a second offense costing $12,154.
Williamson, a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, is making $600,000 in base salary this season. He had six total tackles on Sunday in the team's 25–16 loss to the Vikings.
- Scooby Axson