The NFL has fined San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle $13,659 for use of abusive language on the T-shirt he wore under his uniform against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Friday.
Kittle wore the shirt under his red No. 85 jersey during the Niners’ 42-10 win over the Cowboys. The gray shirt said “F— Dallas” in blue lettering, and Kittle revealed it while celebrating running back Jordan Mason‘s 26-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Kittle said Thursday he knew he would probably have to pay for his wardrobe choice.
“Probably to get a fine,” Kittle said. “I wore a personalized T-shirt, maybe an inappropriate word. So it is what it is. It was a decision I made. If they want to fine me, they fine me.”
On Wednesday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the league was considering a fine for a “personal message” uniform violation. The price tag for such an infraction is $10,927.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 9, 2023
But Kittle made clear Thursday that he had no regrets even if he was fined.
“One hundred percent,” Kittle said. “I’d do it again.”
Since the 49ers picked Kittle in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft, he has made it a point to study the team’s storied history. That is what led him to wear the shirt as an homage to former Niners linebacker Gary Plummer, who wore a similar one with the same message during the 1994 NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys.
At the time, San Francisco-Dallas was the league’s biggest rivalry. The teams squared off in three consecutive NFC Championship Games and combined to claim all three Super Bowl titles.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he had no problem with Kittle wearing the shirt, noting it’s all part of the tight end’s outsized persona.
“Just Kittle, WWE stuff, entertainment,” Shanahan said. “Not really much, just smiled at it.”
One person who wasn’t smiling about it is Cowboys pass-rusher Micah Parsons. Speaking on his podcast, “The Edge with Micah Parsons,” Parsons said Kittle was “making it way more personal than it had to be.”
Dallas safety Jayron Kearse didn’t see it quite the same way, adding: “I don’t have a problem with nothing he did. If we do our job and keep him out of the end zone, he wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
Kittle had three catches for 67 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
He said he won’t be wearing a similar themed T-shirt when the Niners play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday because no such storied rivalry exists between the teams.
“I don’t make things up,” Kittle said. “We stand on the shoulders of the 49ers before us. It’s something I’ve seen my whole career, and finally, I just wanted to channel it.”
Information from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner was used in this report.
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