Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams announced earlier this month that his nonprofit organization, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, will cover the cost of 53 mammograms at hospitals located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.
Williams is a staunch supporter of breast cancer awareness. In 2014, Williams’ mother, Sandra Hill, died after battling breast cancer. She was just 53 years old. He also lost his four aunts to the disease, but not before leading a push in 2009 to allow NFL players to wear pink cleats throughout October, Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Ever since then, fans have become accustomed to seeing pink — pink headphones, pink cleats, pink pompoms — on gobs of NFL gear throughout October — but only October. That’s not sitting well with Williams, who wanted to show his support for breast cancer awareness all season long by wearing pink accessories during games.
Williams was promptly told no by NFL’s vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. The NFL later issued this statement. “There is a long-standing policy for all players regarding uniforms that is league-wide for all 32 teams. The league works with the clubs and players to raise awareness collectively for breast cancer during the month of October.”
It’s not the NFL’s first (nor likely the last) brush with players testing the league’s patience. The NFL recently levied a personal messages fine of $5,787 against Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward when he inked “Ironhead” on his eye black in a nod to his father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who died of cancer in 2006.
The fine list is released each year and players are schooled on the policy during training camp. For example, the fine for excessive profanity and other unsportsmanlike conduct is $11,576, while physical contact with an official runs $28,940.