Former University of Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson, who plays for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, is not expected to receive a fine for wearing patriotic cleats in Sunday’s game, ESPN reported on Tuesday.
Williamson wore the red, white and blue cleats to pay tribute to 9/11 victims and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The cleats were in violation of the NFL’s strict uniform rules, and Williamson said after Sunday’s game that he expected to be fined by the league.
Titans head coach Mike Mularkey told the Tennesseean on Monday that he encouraged Williams to wear the shoes and that he would pay the fine if it came to that.
“Well, I said, ‘I’m going to shoot you straight like I shoot everybody straight. If you don’t wear those shoes, I’ll be very disappointed in you. Because all I want from you guys is to do things the right way,’” Mularkey said. “And him wearing those shoes is doing something the right way.”
Several New York and New Jersey police associations also offered to help pay any potential fine.
“I just felt like I got so much support across the country, and especially when the New York and New Jersey police unions said that they would pay my fine, that really meant a lot,”Williamson told The Tennessean after the game, “so I felt like if I didn’t wear them, I just wouldn’t have felt good about it. I felt like I had to do that, just for myself and to represent the people that were lost and the people that do their jobs every day to protect us. I feel like it was just a duty.”