Exactly one week after gaining approval to wear custom cleats honoring golf legend Arnold Palmer, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown found himself in hot water Oct. 9 over his footwear during the NFL’s Week 5 action.
As the Steelers rallied to a 31-13 home win over the New York Jets at Heinz Field, star receiver Brown was forced to change out of a pair of cleats designed to honor late boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
The call to remove the custom cleats came from an NFL equipment supervisor after just two plays of on-field action. According to reports, Brown was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the game unless he changed out of the Ali-inspired spikes.
To say that Brown has had issues with the NFL’s equipment guidelines would be an understatement. During Week 1, he was fined $9,000 by the league for wearing a pair of bright blue cleats that did not match the Steelers’ uniform colors. Since then, Brown has attempted to avoid the league’s penalties by complying with the rules, and his Oct. 3 Arnold Palmer-inspired cleats were approved before the game.
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In the most recent incident, it’s unclear exactly why the NFL took issue with the black-and-yellow cleats. Brown has yet to address the ruling publicly.
In recent weeks, the NFL has taken issue with a number of custom shoes, including Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Cleats worn by DeAndre Hopkins.