New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley Should Be Allowed to Express Himself With His Cleats

By Justin Patrick
Stevan Ridley
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley was fined $5,250 by the NFL last season for wearing red cleats in the Patriots’ 43-22 divisional round playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Brandon Spikes was also fined by the NFL to the tune of $18,375 for wearing red cleats over the course of two games last season. Last year Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was fined $10,000 by the NFL for wearing a t-shirt that read “Operation Patience” while he worked out on the field before the Redskins’ Monday night preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Are you kidding me?

From reports at the time, it appeared RGIII was fined for “wearing unauthorized apparel” since the NFL strictly prohibits any players from wearing anything that is not approved by the NFL once they are on the field on game days. This is absolutely ridiculous. At the time, RG III referred to the Redskins’ plan to hold him out of the entire preseason as “Operation Patience.” That’s why he was wearing the shirt. It’s not like he was wearing anything offensive. Plus, it was the preseason.

Relax NFL.

During the Patriots’ minicamp sessions, Ridley had some fun wearing cleats with various superhero logos on them, including Batman, and his fluorescent green cleats probably had a logo of the Hulk or Green Lantern. During the Patriots’ OTAs, Ridley donned Captain America cleats.

Once the season, err, preseason rolls around, Ridley will have to stop wearing the cleats unless he wants to keep getting fined by the NFL.

The NFL won’t let players wear unapproved cleats. The NFL has a strict uniform policy which states each team must select a dominant color (black or white are the only options) for cleats prior to July 1 and players must then wear cleats that are predominantly black or white, depending on what their team chose.

Everyone knows the NFL is insanely popular; there is no denying that. But what is the harm in letting players wear different color cleats? If the players want to have some fun and it isn’t hurting anyone, what is the big deal? Of course players should wear matching helmets, jerseys and pants, but why do their cleats matter? It’s fun and it’s not like wearing a bright pair of cleats during a game looks unprofessional.

This is just another example of the NFL puffing out its chest and displaying its power. There are more important things the NFL could worry about, like making sure the rookies truly receive the message that is conveyed at the rookie symposium each year so the number of players who find themselves in trouble, bankrupt or both is extremely limited. Cleats in different colors are not something the NFL should worry about.

The NFL wonders why it is referred to as the “No Fun League.” Don’t make me laugh.

Justin Patrick is a New England Patriots writer for Follow him on Twitter @calling_allfans, like him on Facebook and add him to  your network on Google.

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