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Police unions offer to pay fine if NFL disciplines player for 9/11 cleats

Tennessee Titans Rookie Minicamp

Tennessee Titans Rookie Minicamp

Frederick Breedon

Titans linebacker Avery Williamson said he was planning to wear special red, white and blue cleats to commemorate 9/11 on Sunday. The NFL told him that if he did, he’d be fined for breaking the uniform rules.

Now two police unions have stepped up to say they’ll pay the fine if Williamson goes through with it.

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association told the Tennesseean that it and another police union will pay Williamson’s fines.

“The PAPD is the police department that has always patrolled the World Trade Center complex. On September 11, 2001, the PAPD lost 37 police officers at the World Trade Center, the largest, single loss ever suffered by a police department in the history of American law enforcement,” the union said in a statement. “We read, with understandable interest, your piece on Avery Williamson and the NFL’s stance on Avery honoring the September 11th victims. We, along with the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, are offering to pay any reasonable fine levied by the NFL if Avery chooses to wear his 9/11 cleats.”

Some would argue that any fine the NFL gives to a player for wearing patriotic cleats is not “reasonable.” Others would argue that a police union’s money could be better spent. Williamson, for his part, said he doesn’t want to cause trouble.

“I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson said. “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.”

The league would be wise to let this one go. The NFL makes exceptions to its uniform rules for reasons like breast cancer awareness and could do so here as well. If Williamson wears the cleats, neither he nor the police union should have to pay a fine.