Odell Beckham Jr. explained why he chose to wear ‘Joker’ cleats despite NFL rules

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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First, it was the watch. Now, it’s the cleats.

Cleveland Browns wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry caused quite the stir with the league when they both took the field wearing “non-compliant” cleats for the first half of Sunday’s game against the Broncos.

Beckham’s cleats were white with Joker-inspired artwork while Landry wore gold and orange cleats. NFL rules require that players wear cleats with a designated team color. That uniform violation ultimately led to league officials telling the receivers to change their shoes at halftime or else be forbidden from re-entering the game.

Both Beckham and Landry complied with the directive, but when you’re on a 2-6 team, halftime drama over cleats makes for needless distraction and easy criticism.

Beckham, though, had a reasonable explanation for the shoe mishap.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Beckham explained why he took the field in the white Joker cleats.

According to Beckham, Nike had planned out his cleat designs for the season back in June with the Browns initially slated to wear white jerseys for the road game in Denver. Yet, the Browns made a late uniform switch, opting to wear their brown uniforms against Denver’s orange jerseys. It was an odd uniform matchup that Beckham and Nike were evidently unprepared for.

He said:

“On Wednesday or Thursday, we switched jerseys from the white to the all brown. So, I had no cleats left to wear. None that I could’ve wore. And the black ones that I was wearing for the rest of the game, for some reason, was just hurting my feet. So, I went to the ones that was most comfortable. I was pretty sure that they changed the rule and cleats wasn’t a big deal. It’s only a big deal to people that are talking about it.”

The NFL did recently loosen the rules on pregame cleats, allowing for players to warm up in creative designs. There’s also the “My Cause My Cleats” promotion for the Week 14 games, but outside of that, the league still requires footwear to be a team-selected dominant color.

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