Plummer Fined for Honoring Tillman

Plummer seeks audible to NFL’s Tillman mandate (ESPN)

Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer must remove the No. 40 decal he’s worn on the back of his helmet since training camp that honors former Arizona Cardinals teammate Pat Tillman. Tillman, the former safety who walked away from the NFL to join the U.S. Army Rangers and fight in Afghanistan, was killed in action in April. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday the league’s long-standing policy prohibits personal messages on uniforms or helmets. Violators could face fines of $5,000. “We do that because we need a consistent rule. You can’t just pick and choose and say one message is OK but another isn’t. Where would you draw the line?” Aiello said.

The league has honored Tillman several times this year, including at the NFL draft, at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August, and on the second week of the season when all NFL players wore Tillman’s number on their helmets. “I want to honor Pat the best I can. I honor Pat every day, every game in my own private way,” Plummer said. “I’m trying to get something done that won’t infringe upon the NFL logo and uniform codes. “I’m not going to fight the NFL,” he said. “I’m looking for some kind of compromise.”

Plummer and Tillman became close friends after playing together at Arizona State and later with the Cardinals. Plummer said he has been wearing a small No. 40 on the back of his helmet since training camp. The Cardinals will display Tillman’s number on their helmets every game this season, but individual players, such as Plummer, are not allowed to do so.

The NFL looks petty in this situation, as it did when it threatened to fine Peyton Manning for honoring Johnny Unitas by wearing his trademark black hightops the week after his death. I can understand the league not wanting players’ uniforms to become billboards for personal expression, but one would think a small, tasteful decal to honor a former NFL player would be allowed. Barring a rules change, the NFL has little choice but to fine Plummer. Perhaps they could agree to use the $5000 fines for some sort of Tillman scholarship.

FILED UNDER: Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brian J. says:

    I hope Plummer eats the fine and continues.

    Poor money management skills, undoubtedly, but a good message.




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  2. Tom says:

    This from the league that let Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to make his father’s initials part of the uniform for a season – I understand someone wanting to honor his father, but his father wasn’t the first QB of the team, an ex-owner, or anything. What a joke.




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  3. Carrie says:

    At one point Jake said he’d rather donated the $$ for the fines to the Tillman Foundation rather than hand it over to the NFL. He had removed the decal (or so the reports said) last week, but he’s wearing it again this week. Other players who are former teammates of Pat Tillman’s also wanted to challenge the league. What is the NFL’s problem?? It isn’t like they are advertising a product, making a political statement, or promoting a religious belief. They are honoring a hero…and through honoring him, honoring all the men and women who serve our country and most especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Without the brave men and women of the US armed forces, the NFL wouldn’t be able to rake in the millions and billions of dollars it does every year. And they’re worried about a little decal??




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  4. TOM WEST says:

    THE NFL MUST BE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS FOR THEM TO FINE JAKE PLUMMER FOR WANTING TO HONOR A TRUE AMERICAN HERO / ROLE MODEL THAT PAT TILMAN IS. PAT TILMAN LEFT THE NFL TO GO FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE . THIS ALSO INCLUDED THE RIGHT OF JAKE PLUMMER TO HOROR HIS FRIEND & HERO . AFTER HEARING THIS TODAY , IT JUST FIRED ME UP, I COULD GO ON & ON ABOUT THIS . IT’S A JOKE ON THE NFL’S PART TO EVEN THINK OF FINING JAKE . IT COULD BE WORSE , JAKE COULD BE FIRING UP A JOINT BEFORE EVERY GAME IN HONOR OF THAT OTHER PLAYER WHO LEFT THE NFL BECAUSE HE COULDN’T GIVE UP SMOKING MARIJUANA .
    TOM WEST
    McKEESPORT PA.




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  5. shane says:

    the nfl commission is bull—-, if this was the 70’s they would be put on the stand by the grand jury for being a communist organization(i.e. roy cohn) i don’t make much money but i would definatley pitch in to help pay the fine, tillman should be on everyones helmet, all yhe athletes claim when they play a serious game it’s like war, well you guys should take a good look at yourselves cause tillman is the only one who could actually compare the two and make you conceded thick heads( i am only refering to punks like allen iverson who compared basketball to war) see the reality that that you are just playing a game making millions and still complaining, i don’t think you can get an a 3 million dollar contract in the army




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  6. albert clark says:

    I served in iraq for over 1 yr with the army, and i am so insulted by that ridiculous fine that they slapped on plummer. I would just like to say that the nfl has gone way beyond the rules they say they have to inforce. and to plummer i would just like to say thank you for honoring a member of the armed forces that gave his life to our country so the NFL COULD KEEP MAKING MILLIONS, hey nfl should really take a look in the mirror and realize what you are doing.




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