DeAngelo Williams has a personal yet painful connection to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as his mother, Sandra Hill, succumbed to the disease in May 2014. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back is one of countless NFL players who enjoys wearing pink every October to raise awareness for the disease.
But why limit it to one month? Why not wear pink all season? Williams wanted to wear pink shoes or pink wristbands in all 16 games to honor his mother, those who have died from the disease and those still fighting it.
The NFL, however, said no. In fact, Williams was even fined $5,787 for a first-offense uniform violation for wearing “Find the Cure” in his eye black.
“Well, the NFL told me that everybody has a cause, and I respect that,” Williams said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “They said, ‘If we let you do it, then everybody that has a cause will have the same reason that you have for wearing it, and if we let you do it, then we open Pandora’s box.’ I completely understood that. So with them telling me that, I was like, ‘Okay, fine.’ And everybody was saying, ‘Hey, you should just wear pink anyway.’ But the rules wouldn’t allow me in the game with anything foreign or illegal. They wouldn’t let me in the game if I’m a distraction to the team.”
That’s when Williams got an idea: He couldn’t wear pink on his uniform, but he could wear pink on his body.
“That’s where I came up with the pink hair and that’s why I wore my pink dreads,” Williams said. “It’s still part of the uniform, but they can’t dictate what color your hair is supposed to be, so I still end up raising awareness anyway.”
Williams said there has been “no pushback at all” from the NFL on this.
Williams, who also discussed his favorite films, “Life” and “Django Unchained,” has rushed 107 times for 534 yards – 5.0 yards per carry – and five touchdowns this season for the 6-4 Steelers. Pittsburgh plays at Seattle (5-5) this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.