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Panthers’ Josh Norman accepts possible fine over patriotic cleats

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Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman acknowledged he may be fined by the NFL for wearing patriotic cleats during Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers. But he’s fine with it.

Norman donned the cleats during the NFL’s “Salute to Service” day, when tributes to the military were seen throughout the league. The red, white and blue cleats featured the words “proud” and “brave” on them and were in violation of the league’s uniform policy because they did not feature the Panthers’ color scheme.

And should Norman be fined for wearing patriotic cleats on a league-endorsed day promoting patriotism? So be it.

“First and foremost, I thank God for allowing me to play for the troops this game,” Norman said, via ESPN. “They gave up their lives so we can have freedom in this world and the United States of America. There is nothing greater than that.

“I just wanted to come out and pay homage to them, the proud and the brave. I wore my shoes today. I may get fined for it, but it is what it is, the price we pay for freedom. I’ll take that any day.”

Norman previously was fined $11,000 last season for wearing mostly silver cleats in a game. Still, he accepts the fact he could be fined, especially given the nature of his tribute and who he was honoring.

“Big ups to them and everything they do for our country,” he said. “I can’t be proud enough to be an American citizen.”

The NFL has dealt with something of a PR backlash this season related to fines levied on players over their violations of the uniform code policy. One such incident, among several others, involved how the league initially fined Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward $5,787 for paying tribute to his late father on his eye black. Heyward again wore the eye black tribute in a subsequent game, subjecting him to another fine to the tune of 11,575, but the league and Heyward came to an agreement where he wouldn’t be fined if he discontinued the practice.