In an attempt to commemorate the victims of 9/11, former Wildcat Avery Williamson planned on wearing custom-made cleats at the Titans’ season opener versus the Vikings today. The game-worn cleats were to be auctioned off with all proceeds going towards Operation Warrior Wishes, an organization used to honor the legacies of heroes and “warriors on the battlefield”.
— Avery Williamson (@AWilliamson54) September 9, 2016
The National Football League heard of Williamson’s plan and quickly banned him from doing so, saying he would be fined for violating the league’s uniform policy.
“I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson told The Tennessean on 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.”
The third-year player out of Kentucky had True Blue Customs in Lexington, KY create these nice kicks.
They feature the words “Never Forget” and “9/11” on the back of each shoe, with the “11” representing the Twin Towers. The NFL requires all teammates wear the same color scheme on their shoes.
So how come these shoes are allowed?
Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz are planning to wear special 9/11 cleats for Sunday's season opener. pic.twitter.com/3YhbHwbC6i
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 9, 2016
What’s the difference between Williamson’s cleats and Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr’s cleats? This question has riddled me throughout the day.
Regardless of the double-standard the NFL is presenting here, the Titans linebacker has made the best out of the situation. Rather than battling with the league, Williamson has decided to raise more awareness of the cause by maintaining an auction of the cleats, Tennessee Titans game tickets, and organizing a meet-and-greet. All proceeds will remain with Operation Warrior Wishes.
In his most recent interview, Williamson expressed:
“9/11 is a time we can honor those who were lost, but also our service men/woman who were and are heroes,” Williamson said. “I have a cousin in the Navy and many people in my life that serve this country. These cleats and this auction are a way to show honor,”
Avery Williamson’s story has made waves nation-wide, causing an outrage within a New York police department.
“The PAPD is the police department that has always patrolled the World Trade Center complex,” Bobby Egbert explained in an email to The Tennesean. “On September 11, 2001, the PAPD lost 37 officers at the World Trade Center, the largest, single loss ever suffered by a police department in the history of American law enforcement. We read, with understandable interest…on Avery Williamson and the NFL’s stance on Avery honoring the September 11th victims. We, along with the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association, are offering to pay any reasonable fine levied by the NFL if Avery chooses to wear his 9/11 cleats.”
Despite the efforts of the PAPD, it sounds like Williamson is leaning towards abiding by the NFL’s wishes and leaving the cleats at home this morning.
“I got some shoes I got done exactly like the cleats,” Williamson told The Tennessean, “so I’m just going to wear them to the game.”
To get involved or donate to Operations Warriors Cause, click here.