Tags: Titans | linebacker | Avery Williamson | 911 | cleats

Police Union Leaders to Linebacker: Wear 9/11 Shoes, We'll Pay Your Fine

Image: Police Union Leaders to Linebacker: Wear 9/11 Shoes, We'll Pay Your Fine

 Avery Williamson (Scott Boehm via AP)

By    |   Saturday, 10 Sep 2016 04:53 PM

Police union leaders in New York and New Jersey say they'll pay the fine for Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson if he plays in Sunday's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings wearing a pair of custom-made, star-spangled cleats honoring those who died during the 9/11 attacks.

Williamson had planned to wear the special red, white and blue Nike cleats, which he had customized by a Lexington, Kentucky shop that airbrushed "Never Forget" and 9/11 on the backs of each shoe, with the 11 representing the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, until he heard from the NFL, reports the New York Post

"I don't want to draw negative attention, so I'm just going to focus on playing the game," Williamson told The Tennessean Friday. "Once I heard from them, I didn’t even try to argue anything. I just left it alone. I didn’t want to press the issue.”

According to NFL rules, football players must wear shoes that are the same color scheme as those their teammates are wearing, or face a fine.

But Paul Nunziato, who heads the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, said he was outraged when he heard that Williamson had been threatened with a fine.

"I’m making a goal line stand on this," he told The Post. "Enough is enough! The NFL is out of bounds on this."

He also accused NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of "committing a personal foul against humanity" for not allowing Williamson to wear the patriotic footwear.

Nunziato and Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, said they want Williamson to reconsider wearing the shoes, and their unions will pay his fine if he does.

"Here's a player honoring those who died on 9/11 with a pair of cleats that he had made up himself — it’s not like he’s kneeling during the national anthem or anything," Colligan commented, referring to San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has continued to refuse standing during the National Anthem.

Colligan said he was also angry that the NFL plans to fine Williamson, while looking the other way when Kaepernick wore socks with pictures of police hat-wearing pigs on them to a team practice.

Williamson, meanwhile, tweeted that he will auction the cleats to charity:

He is also offering a meet and greet, an autographed jersey, and two VIP tickets to a Titans home game to sweeten the deal.

"I'm going to try to get a couple of veterans to come to a game," he told The Tennessean. "I feel like just reaching out to people, helping them, somebody that's served our country, I feel like that's a great honor, so I wanted to do something nice for them. I feel like it's a great cause."

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Police union leaders in New York and New Jersey say they'll pay the fine for Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson if he plays in Sunday's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings wearing a pair of custom-made, star-spangled cleats honoring those who died during...
Titans, linebacker, Avery Williamson, 911, cleats
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2016-53-10
Saturday, 10 Sep 2016 04:53 PM
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