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William Gay wore purple shoes for domestic violence awareness, got fined

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots makes a catch against William Gay #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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DeAngelo Williams wasn’t the only member of the Steelers to get fined by the league this week for sending a message via his uniform.

Cornerback William Gay has also been fined $5,787 for wearing purple shoes in an attempt to draw attention to domestic violence issues during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Gay’s mother was shot and killed by his stepfather when Gay was seven years old, which makes his personal relationship to the issue a particularly close one.

As we’ve seen numerous times over the years, the league’s rules about uniforms don’t offer any wiggle room for players to highlight causes of interest to them. The only approved alterations come when during league-wide efforts in October and November to recognize breast cancer awareness and the United States military.

Gay, who appears in an NFL public service announcement asking for “no more” domestic violence, told Aditi Kinkhabwala that he knows he “broke the rule” and that he hopes the league donates his fine to an organization devoted to domestic violence causes.

Gay also said he’s asked the league to relax uniform regulations for one weekend a year so players can champion a cause of their choice, something that seems unlikely given the league’s longstanding aversion to players expressing themselves via their uniforms.