All Cam Heyward wanted to do was honor his father, who died nine years ago of bone cancer. As his bosses commemorate breast cancer awareness this month, Heyward is wearing eight simple letters on his adhesive eye black. "IRON" is on one and "HEAD" is on the other, recalling the nickname of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward.
The NFL has acted swiftly. For violating its policy on personal messages in Week 5, it fined Heyward $5,787. For the repeat violation in Week 6, the fine will escalate to $11,576. Heyward said he plans to continue donning the message through the end of the month, which would mean at least one more fine and -- barring a successful appeal -- a total cost of $28,939 for a three-week, eight-letter tribute.
We all know NFL players can be fined, and eventually suspended, for malicious game fouls or violations of policies regarding personal conduct or substance abuse. What you might not be aware of, however, is the NFL's expansive list of fines for minor uniform irregularities, unapproved shoe colors and other archaic offenses.
Here, then, are 15 quirky but actual ways an NFL player can be fined -- all culled from the league's 2015 fine schedule and rulebook.
1. Want to throw a football into the stands? It'll cost you $5,787 for the first offense and $11,576 for the second.
2. Excessive profanity during a game, as deemed by an official, will cost $11,576 the first time and $23,152 the second.
3. If officials catch you without all four snaps of your chin strap in place during a play, you could lose $8,681. Again? It's $11,576.
4. Pants must be worn over the knee. If they're rolled up, with the sock covering the knee instead, you're subject to a $5,787 fine for the first offense and $11,576 for the second.
5. Socks must not be altered to move the point where the solid white and the team colors are not at the mid-point of the lower leg. (I'm not making this up.) If they are, the league has the option to fine a player $5,787. If they don't get the message, the second fine is $11,576.
6. All players on a team must wear the same primary shoe color, either black or white, along with up to three predetermined team colors to use as accents. Players can use tape and magic markers to block out or emphasize colors as necessary. Violations can incur a $5,787 fine the first time and $11,576 the second.
7. To bring a towel on the field, players must ensure it is white and licensed by the NFL. It can contain no logos, personal messages, symbols, names or illustrations. They must be six by eight inches (slightly larger for a quarterback) and tucked into the front waist. Violators could be hit with a $5,787 fine the first time and $11,576 the second.
8. Bandannas and head stockings are banned from the field. The fine is $5,787 for the first offense and $11,576 for the second.
9. Entering a fight area will cost you even if you don't actually fight. It's $2,893 the first time and $8,681 the second. The message: Stay away and let officials break it up.
10. A verbal or other nonphysical offense toward an official is expensive. It'll cost you $23,152 if you go too far and $46,305 if you do it again.
11. Gang signs, or gestures that resemble them, are prohibited and deemed so serious that the NFL Players Association agreed not to limit fines for a first or second offense. They are considered "conduct detrimental to the league" and can be punished by a combination of a suspension and/or fine.
12. The same is true if a player wears or verbally endorses a commercial logo or company name at any point during a game. Some could be approved by the league office. There is no minimum fine and a suspension is possible.
13. Wearing a tinted eye shield is prohibited unless the NFL pre-approves for medical reasons. Otherwise, the fine is $5,787 the first time and $11,576 for the second.
14. Gloves worn by interior linemen must be white, black or another official team color submitted to the league office by July 1 of each year. Otherwise, it is a uniform violation that carries a $5,787 fine for the first offense and $11,576 for the second.
15. Wristbands must be only white or black. The fine is $5,787 the first time and $11,576 for the second.
The fine values are based on negotiated base terms from the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. By agreement, they rise at an annual rate of 5 percent.
According to the NFL, about $4 million per year has been collected via player fines since the start of the 2009 season. The money is donated through the NFL Foundation to two charities that assist former NFL players, the NFL Player Care Foundation and the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust.
Any questions? There will be a quiz Friday.