Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson wore patriotic cleats despite the threat of a fine from the league.
Williamson, 24, planned to wear the shoes in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
However, an NFL representative told him that he could violate the league’s uniform code, and he would be fined, according to The Tennessean newspaper.
But on Sept. 11, Williams came out of the team’s tunnel wearing the cleats in the opener against the Minnesota Vikings and wore them during the game.
Police unions have vowed to pay for Avery Williamson’s fines for wearing 9/11 shoes
— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) September 11, 2016
Since Avery Williamson is still wearing cleats in 2nd half, the fine grows! pic.twitter.com/SGenH3F6VW
— Cory Curtis (@CoryCurtis2) September 11, 2016
“I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson told The Tennessean last week. “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 shoes are emblazoned with “Never Forget” and “9-11-01.”
Williamson said he’d auction the cleats online, saying the proceeds will be donated to Warrior Wishes, a charity that honors Gold Star families, according to WKRN-TV.
Several teammates said they’d pay his fine if he wore the shoes. Others also offered to pay the fine for him, including four New York and New Jersey police associations, the Tennessean reported.
“The [Port Authority Police Benevolent Association] 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,” it added, according to NBC’s ProFootballTalk.