Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna has been fined $5,000 for wearing a custom-made cap with a Christian cross while being questioned by the media following a game with San Francisco on December 14. The National Football League has a rule stating players must wear only NFL-licensed gear when being interviewed on camera 90 minutes before and after Sunday games.
Kitna, a devout Christian, said in the future he would follow league rules because scripture tells him to " ... submit to authority placed above me." Regardless, Kitna is planning to appeal the fine, saying "Iím not just going to give them my money."
Very possibly he may not have to! An unnamed local businessman wants to pay Kitnaís fine for him as well as any later penalties the N.F.L. might impose. A Bengals spokesman revealed they have received four calls from other people wanting to "chip in" toward his fine.
The owner of a Christian store purchased 1,000 caps, black with an orange cross (the Bengalsí colors), to sell at cost ($5) to show support for the Cincinnati quarterback. Bengal fans flocked through his doors Saturday; and by the end of business Sunday, his entire supply of "Kitna caps" were sold out! Immediately, he began taking orders for a December 23 shipment of 1,300 more.
Customer comments: "Some people ... think itís great that heís wearing the cross ... "; " ... itís America and thereís freedom of speech and religion ..."; "I donít believe you should fine somebody because they got a cross on them": " ... the NFL shouldnít own somebodyís body ..."
Kitna, who has been wearing the cap since the season
started, said he appreciates the reactions: "Iím about drawing interest
to Christ and encouraging people walking with Christ to be bold."
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