The NFL’s golden year comes to a close this weekend as Super Bowl 50 looms large. Throughout the season, all NFL fields have painted the 50-yard marks gold to represent the large milestone in league history. Cam Newton has stated that if he wins the league MVP award the night before the Super Bowl, he will wear gold football cleats for the game. This would be a blatant violation of the NFL uniform rules if he does not receive permission, but if he does, it shows that the NFL is driven by one thing: money.
The league has been under scrutiny this season for not allowing players to alter their uniforms: DeAngelo Williams was fined $5,757 for wearing pink in support breast cancer awareness (during breast cancer awareness month), William Gay was fined $5,787 for wearing purple cleats in hopes of raising awareness of domestic violence after losing his mother (the NFL has since changed its stance), and Brandon Marshall was fined $10,000 each game for wearing green cleats to raise awareness for mental health (despite the New York Jets’ color being green).
With this disturbing trend, will the NFL allow for Cam Newton to wear gold cleats on Super Bowl night? If so, it shows that they care more about advertising themselves and their “golden year” than they do supporting various charity campaigns sponsored by various players. For this reason, I do not believe the NFL will allow for Cam Newton to wear the gold cleats on Super Bowl night without a fine, as this allows them to double-dip: the NFL will get advertising for their “golden year,” and receive a hefty fine. With this, the NFL would be making a major public relations mistake if they change enforcement of the uniform code at this point in this season. Hopefully, the NFL will review their fine policy next season and change it to something more lenient on innocuous items such as cleat color, especially when it is supporting a charity or increasing the NFL’s marketing opportunities.
Perhaps the NFL needs a refresher on the golden rule, “do unto others..,” and stops penalizing players who care.