The NFL football season is under way with five games already in the books. It is now the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The National Football League has been raising money for Breast Cancer research for the last few years, and according to NFL.com, “A Crucial Catch” program implemented by the NFL has raised $4.5 million since 2009. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month NFL players, officials and coaches sport pink apparel in their support for the countless number of women affected cancer. Thursday, Brandon Marshall — a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears — also donned pink apparel. But, there was a catch: he was also wearing bright green shoes. These bright green shoes were in direct violation of the incredibly strict dress code the NFL established for its players. Because of this, Marshall was fined $10,500 by the NFL.
So, why did Marshall decide to wear these shoes? Marshall has publicly suffered from borderline personality disorder, and he wore these shoes to show his support for Mental Health Awareness. The color for Mental Health Awareness is neon green, and Marshall decided to wear shoes of this color. Marshall plans on matching the fine handed down to him by the NFL and donating $10,500 to a charity dedicated to mental illness research.
This Editorial Board believes that Marshall should have never been fined by the National Football League. He wore these shoes for a good cause, and punishing such a trivial thing like off-colored shoes is ridiculous in the first place.
The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, is trying to protect the integrity of the game by establishing such a strict dress code. But, he has to understand that the punishment does not fit the behavior in most cases. Also, in some cases the NFL has not been consistent when issuing such fines to players who “violate” the dress code. Reggie Wayne — wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts — showed support for his head coach, Chuck Pagano, by wearing bright orange gloves and mouth guard. Bright orange is the color for Leukemia Awareness, and Pagano was forced to take a leave of absence in order to fight the disease.
The NFL found Wayne in direct violation of the dress code, yet never fined him.
We understand the NFL is trying to promote professional behavior because of the recent spike in questionable behavior from its players, but the dress code policy needs to be revised. Most of the time, players change their normal apparel in order to promote a good cause, yet the NFL is still punishing them for it. The NFL already makes enough money during the year without these ridiculous fines.
Let Marshall wear his shoes.