The NFL isn’t doing all that well in the PR department this week. Not only do they have to deal with the fallout after Frontline’s League of Denial documentary, but now they are looking like hypocrites after rejecting a players request to wear a pair of green cleats to draw awareness for a worthy cause.
Brandon Marshall requested to wear the green shoes for the Bears upcoming clash with the New York Giants on Thursday night. It was Marshall’s hope that the green cleats would shine a light on Mental Illness Awareness Week, a cause that hits home for the Bears wide receiver. If you remember back to 2011, Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
The fact that the NFL will not permit him to wear the cleats isn’t necessarily shocking considering similar situations have occurred before. What is particularly ridiculous is the fact that after Marshall said that he would still wear the green shoes and just pay the fine, the NFL said that they would not permit Marshall to take the field.
Does it make sense that they would have such an arbitrary rule? Yes. There are so many different causes that deserve recognition that if they allow one player to do such a thing then there will be 50 more with other requests. You have to draw the line somewhere. And that line is pink penalty flags.
UPDATE: According to ProFootballTalk, the league office has told Marshall he will be permitted to play in the green shoes, and that he’ll simply be fined later. Marshall has said he planned to pay the fine and match it with a donation to charity.