NFL Threatens Antonio Brown, Forces Him to Remove Muhammad Ali Tribute Cleats

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Twitter / Antonio Brown)

Antonio Brown has been fined a total of $45,000 by the NFL this season over multiple incidents.

Some of that dough is for his dancing, and some is for his choice in footwear. But during Week 5, the league threatened the Pittsburgh Steelers' star wideout with a possible suspension, so in the interest of not hurting his team, rather than just his wallet, Brown complied.

This is what got the league so worked up—a pair of cleats that double as a tribute to Muhammad Ali, all in Steelers gold and black:

Oh, the horror.

He managed to step on the field in the cleats, but after two drives against the New York Jets, an NFL representative told Brown to remove them or he'd be removed from the game. So he did.

In Week 1, the four-time Pro Bowler was fined $9,000 for wearing baby blue cleats, as they didn't match his team's uniforms. He wore baby blue cleats again in Week 3, this time featuring the faces of his four children.

The league made him change kicks at halftime.

So last week, to honor the late Arnold Palmer, who was born and died in Western Pennsylvania, Brown wore cleats with the legendary golfer's image on them, but made sure they were black and gold.

And Brown made it through the game without being fined or told to change his shoes!

So this whole black-and-gold thing must be the answer to his being able to wear fun, unique cleats that allow him to express himself without insulting or hurting anyone, including those who picked team' uniform colors, right?


Of course, this is all consistent with the NFL's wildly inconsistent punishments of arbitrary rules based seemingly on how many neighborhood kids light bags of crap on commissioner Roger Goodell's doorstep each morning—and judging by the ludicrous taunting penalties and fines doled out so far this season, that must happen a lot.

At least the league's ratings aren't taking a historic downward tumble though, right Roger?