There’s been quite a bit of discussion about the league’s decision to fine Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward for him choosing to honor his late father Craig “Iron Head” Heyward by writing the words “Iron” and “Head” on his eye black during games and those discussions aren’t going to be ending anytime soon.
During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he’s talked recently to Heyward about his decision to make a statement during the month in which the NFL dedicates to drawing awareness to breast cancer.
“I had a brief conversation with him and I understand his perspective,” said Tomlin. “He is trying to pay homage and honor those that deal with and fight cancer and boy, what a worthy cause.
“I know that we spend a lot of time in the National Football League collectively honoring those and just think that what he’s doing is a part of it. I understand that the league office probably has a different view, I’ll let him sort it out with those guys, but I understand the gist of what he’s trying to do and I respect him for it.”
Heyward now faces a second fine in excess of $11,000 for wearing the aforementioned “illegal” eye black for a second consecutive game this past Sunday. He will reportedly have his appeal heard sometime on Tuesday so it will be interesting to see how Commissioner Roger Goodell and company ultimately rule on it.
Despite him showing support for Heyward and his cause on Tuesday, Tomlin indicated that he is not planning on calling the league office in attempt to help him with his appeal.
“I’ve got enough calls to make,” said Tomlin.
Regardless of how this all plays out, I’m willing to bet that Heyward wears his taboo eye black again this coming Sunday in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Heyward’s father died on May 27, 2006, at the age of 39 as a result of a bone cancer in his skull. Craig Heyward played 11 seasons in the NFL as fullback for five different teams.