Over the years, the NFL has become more flexible with what footwear it allows players to wear.
Currently, the rules state that cleats can either be black, white, or a team colour. The only exception to this rule is the NFL’s Crucial Catch initiative, which states that, during weeks four through six of the football season, the players are allowed to wear custom rainbow apparel to support cancer research as a whole, instead of the typical pink apparel for just breast cancer awareness.
However, when the Philadelphia Eagles played against the New York Jets on 15 October, Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown was seen wearing pink cleats. During that week, Brown was the only player to take advantage of this rule and stood out to those watching.
Particularly, Jason Kelce’s daughter, Wyatt, was in awe of them. “Well we got a video of what Kylie put out of Wyatt watching the Eagles game and she didn’t miss those pink shoes one time,” Travis joked in an episode of the New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce podcast.
“Every single time they showed him, she was like: ‘Pink shoes! Pink shoes!’ Everybody else...adults are definitely saying the same thing. They just don’t say it around a camera,” Jason explained.
Both Jason and Travis Kelce assumed Brown was wearing bright pink shoes as a nod to breast cancer awareness month, but they were actually for another reason.
In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Brown explained that he wears the shoes so that his young kids can spot him when they’re watching him play on TV. “My daughter does the same thing [and] always points out my shoes, but that video was so cute," he said, referring to Wyatt consistently pointing out his shoes. Brown has a three-year-old daughter named Jersee and a son AJ Jr, 12 months, with his partner Kelsey Riley.
Brown tried to do the same thing in week three of the football season, when the Eagles played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and wore highlighter green cleats for his daughter to spot. Because the green wasn’t the right shade, he was forced to change them after the first half of the game. Specifically, equipment manager Greg Delimitros told Brown that he “had to take them off or they were going to pull me out of the game“.
Had Brown not taken the shoes off, he would have been fined a $7,100 fee for not complying with official rules. He called the fine amount “ridiculous,” according to ESPN. “It is what it is. That’s not my battle to fight.”
Apparently, his daughter caught on to the shoe change and called Brown out for it. “She got mad at me: ‘Why did I change the cleats?’” Brown said to ESPN. “She’ll have to be okay. I’m not trying to come out [of the game].”
He also went to say how he isn’t a fan of the NFL’s footwear rules at all. “Yeah, that rule sucks,” Brown said. “I really tried to bend the rules a little bit, but I think all players should just wear whatever they want to wear. They’re not going to be able to fine everybody in the league. So I think we should start that movement as players.”