Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward got a lot of air time during the Steelers Monday Night victory over the San Diego Chargers. And so he should have, Heyward had in the estimate on of Neal Coolong at DKonPittsburghSports, the best game of his career.
Unfortunately, all that attention came at a price for Heyward.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 14, 2015
Cam Heyward didn’t say how much he’d been fined, but the information of course leaked out anyway:
NFL fined Cam Heyward exactly $5,787 for displaying personal message on his eye black, even if it was a tribute to his father, “Iron Head”.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 14, 2015
There’s only one word to describe the NFL’s Cameron Heyward uniform fining: Inane.
For the record, here is the portion of the NFL’s uniform policy:
The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages…which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns.
Nice. So what the “message” that was related to a political activity, cause or campaign was Cameron Heyward promoting? “Iron Head”
The reference to “Iron Head” was to Cameron Heyward’s late father Craig Heyward. Craig Heyward was a stand out star on the University of Pittsburgh in the 1980’s and truthfully “Craig Iron Head Heyward” was and remains the only college that I wanted the Steelers to draft.
And that’s simply because as a high school sophomore, I saw ESPN highlights of him, say that he was playing for Pitt, and remembered Chris Berman saying “They call him IRON HEAD.” Heyward earned his legend. A friend of my brother’s who played at Annapolis told me that his friends on the defensive line “took tickets to see who would tackle Heyward” because Heyward inflicted so much punishment on tacklers.
- The Steelers passed on a drafting Craig Heyward opting to take Aaron Jones while, the New Orleans Saints picked Heyward.
Heyward had a solid 10 year NFL career playing for the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Rams, and then retired after he played a final season for the Colts. But his battle with cancer had already begun, as he was diagnosed with chordoma malignant bone cancer. After surgery and radiation the cancer went into remission, but it was back in 2005 and in 2006 it took his life.
- As everyone knows the NFL supports breast cancer research in October in part by incorporating pink into teams uniforms.
So it seems only logical that Cameron Heyward would honor his father’s memory and battle with cancer by spelling out Iron Head with his face paint.
The logic is lost on Roger Goodell. Instead of commending him for finding a cool, creative way to honor his father and the fight against cancer we have the spectacle of the NFL fining Cameron Heyward…
…Meanwhile, the side judge who “forgot” to stop the play clock after the Charger’s final kickoff got suspended for one game – with pay if rumors are correct. So if you screw up in a way that very much could have altered the competitive balance of the game, you get a slap on the wrist. But if you honor your father creatively, you get fined.
The NFL fining Cameron Heyward for painting “Iron Head” is simply inane.