Titans player who wished to honor 9/11 victims with special cleats gets major pushback from the NFL

Sites of 9/11 Then and Now

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson is getting flack for wanting to wear a set of patriotic sneakers during Sunday's game.

According to the New York Post, the specially designed cleats would be worn against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. After a league rep vowed to fine Williamson for violating uniform code, he backed off.

"I don't want to draw negative attention, so I'm just going to focus on playing the game," Williamson told the Tennessean newspaper Friday.

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Two police unions were so outraged that they offered to pay the athlete’s fine if he wears them despite the NFL’s request for him to wear uniform sneakers.

When Paul Nunziato, head of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, heard about the NFL's response, he spoke out to reporters.

“I’m making a goal line stand on this. Enough is enough! The NFL is out of bounds on this,” he said.

He specifically called out Roger Goodell, saying the NFL commissioner had “committed a personal foul against humanity” by denying Williamson the right to wear his sneakers.

Patrick Colligan of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association echoed the sentiment.

"We want him to wear the cleats and we'll pay the fine," Colligan said. "He [Williamson] was absolutely doing a great thing and the NFL is threatening with a fine? When is Goodell going to recognize what his fan base is?"

Colligan added, "It’s not like he’s kneeling during the national anthem or anything" – a reference to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's controversial protest.

According to the Post, Williamson plans to auction the cleats for charity.