This weekend across the NFL, players were allowed to wear custom cleats supporting charities of their choice. It was a cool initiative that let the players show off their creativity while also bringing worthy causes to attention.
However, this promotion came during Week 13, the last bye week of the 2016 NFL season. Now, members of one of those two teams on bye are upset with the league for not allowing them to wear their customized cleats in Week 14.
Titans players Jason McCourty and Delanie Walker will risk being fined by the No Fun League during the Titans game with the Broncos next Sunday, vowing to wear their custom cleats to support their causes.
“I believe you should be [allowed], so I’ll be wearing mine for the game,” Jason said.
“… There are a lot of things I guess they should or shouldn’t do. It’s just one of those things where it is what it is. I guess at some point there were going to be two teams at any given week that wouldn’t be playing, so you kind of get screwed in that sense. That just happened to be us.”
Brian Orakpo wasn’t happy that the league didn’t give the team permission to wear the cleats in Week 14. He had a charity in mind that he wanted to support, but didn’t have any cleats customized.
“We should be able to, us and Cleveland,” said Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, who would have had shoes designed to show his support for leukemia and lymphoma charities. “We’re not allowed; we can’t.”
The NFL hasn’t responded to the Titans’ displeasure, but when they do, I’m sure they’ll respond with a boilerplate response along the lines of “we can’t have players doing this every week! It would create madness and render our super strict on-field uniform code moot!”
But let’s be honest here – the Titans and Browns wearing customized cleats in Week 14 wouldn’t hurt anyone. No one, not the players involved, the fans, or the team’s personnel, are demanding this happen during every game. The Titans (and presumably, the Browns) just want the same chance to support their causes that players on every other team got this weekend. Is that really asking too much?
This wasn’t a promotion that was announced over the summer – we learned about it back in September, right after the season started. The NFL knew what their schedule looked like, and they knew that by picking Week 13, two of their teams would be screwed and wouldn’t get this chance. That’s not right. Just let the two teams wear their cleats this weekend and don’t undo all the good that was done this weekend, NFL.
UPDATE: Sanity has prevailed. Titans and Browns players can wear custom cleats in Week 14.