Bears' Lance Briggs Says He Will Wear 9/11-Inspired Cleats, Gloves Despite Possible Fine
Bears LB Lance Briggs took to Twitter Thursday to announce he received "special red, white and blue cleats and gloves from Reebok" to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and he plans on wearing them during Sunday's game against the Falcons "despite the NFL's strict uniform rules that prohibit players from wearing colors of their choosing," according to Michael David Smith of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. Briggs wrote, "For the anniversary of 9/11 game why is it if I wear shoes and gloves that are the colors of our nations flag..I will be fined by the league." Briggs "indicated that he'll violate the uniform rule and take the fine." He wrote, "By far the best fine I will ever have to pay" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/8). Briggs "lamented that players can wear pink shoes and gloves as part of the league's breast cancer awareness initiative." In Chicago, Sean Jensen wrote he suspects Briggs "isn't alone in voicing this concern, and the league may make some exceptions" (SUNTIMES.com, 9/8). In Nashville, John Glennon reported Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck also received a "pair of special red, white and blue cleats from Reebok earlier this week" that have the word "Never" printed on the heel of the left cleat and "Forget" on the right cleat. Hasselbeck said that he would "consider wearing the cleats for warm-ups and even for the game itself on Sunday, despite the fact that the NFL would discipline him for a uniform violation." Hasselbeck: "I don't know if that's legal. That would probably be a fine from the NFL. I'm debating whether or not it's worth it" (TENNESSEAN.com, 9/8).
OPENING PANDORA'S BOX? ESPN's Skip Bayless said, "When an NFL game starts, that uniform code must be enforced. It must be held sacred, or you’ll open a Pandora’s Box of all sorts of players deciding to commemorate or honor whatever issue or memory that they so choose. It could be religious, it could be political, it could be anything. You just can’t let one start because how do you say ‘no’ to the next one and ‘no’ to the next one" ("First Take," ESPN2, 9/9). ESPN's Greenberg: "I understand both sides of it because I could see … some players might try to make some sort of statement that might not be what everyone wants to see. I don’t know how anyone would be offended by someone wearing red, white and blue cleats, but I could see certain things that someone might do that could offend some people." ESPN's Mike Golic asked, "As a player, do you need to take it to that extreme? Some players feel they need to do that. They do it because they want to be patriotic, they do it because they want the attention, who knows what the reason could be. This is such an emotional thing, what this weekend stands for. The league’s response will be interesting to me.” Greenberg said he believes the NFL will "do what they always do: I think they will very quietly fine Lance Briggs and any other players that do things like that.” But he added that all "fine money gathered for that day should go to 9/11 charities” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 9/9).