PAPD to pay NFL fine if Titans LB wears 9/11-tribute cleats

The NFL has banned Avery Williamson from wearing his custom cleats showing support for 9/11. Rather than wear his patriots cleats Sunday, the third-year pro is auctioning them to benefit Operation Warrior Wishes. Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

“The PAPD is the police department that has always patrolled the World Trade Center complex. On September 11, 2001, the PAPD lost 37 police officers at the World Trade Center, the largest, single loss ever suffered by a police department in the history of American law enforcement.

“We read, with understandable interest, your piece on Avery Williamson and the NFL’s stance on Avery honoring the September 11th victims. We, along with the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, are offering to pay any reasonable fine levied by the NFL if Avery chooses to wear his 9/11 cleats.”

Egbert asked that this offer be brought to Williamson’s attention. Union leaders from both organizations reiterated this promise in comments to the New York Post.

Later Saturday, two additional law enforcement associations joined in the pledge, the New Jersey State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association and the State Troopers Fraternal Association of the New Jersey State Police.

Williamson’s star-spangled blue cleats with red- and white-striped Nike swooshes were airbrushed by True Blue Customs in Lexington, Ky. They feature the words “Never Forget” and “9/11” on the back of the shoes, with the “11” representing the Twin Towers. The NFL mandates all teammates wear the same color scheme on their shoes.

Williamson is instead auctioning the cleats to benefit Operation Warrior Wishes, plus offering a meet and greet, two VIP tickets to a Titans home game and an autographed jersey.

“I’m going to try to get a couple of veterans to come to a game,” Williamson said. “I feel like just reaching out to people, helping them, somebody that’s served our country, I feel like that’s a great honor, so I wanted to do something nice for them. I feel like it’s a great cause.”

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