Caleb Williams isn't rocking painted nails in this USC game. But if he did that in the NFL, he'd have a lot of support. | Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Swift can breathe a sigh of relief. It appears that football knuckle-draggers on social media have found a new target to blame for destroying their sport and ruining men in general:

Caleb Williams’ painted nails.

Just to be clear what their rules apparently are: Painting your face in team colors is perfectly acceptable behavior. Taking your shirt off and painting your bare chest in 0-degree weather is as heterosexual as you can get.

But if get even one drop of pink on your cuticles, apparently no straight man will ever listen to a thing you say.

For a group that claims to be all about strength and toughness, who knew that the key to the unraveling the entire concept of masculinity would be Sally Hansen?

In the wake of this testosterone-soaked outrage, a few voices of sanity in the football world are speaking up and emphatically declaring that the angry straight dude chorus does not speak for their sport.

NFL Network host Kyle Brandt went off on football’s gatekeepers of masculinity and stood up for Williams during a stirring five-minute oration on “Good Morning Football.” A lifelong Bears fan, Brandt was the ideal choice to throw support behind the player who will likely be chosen by Chicago with the first pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

Addressing the hot takers who saw Williams’ nails and bleated, “That’s not a leader of men,” Brandt was blunt in his response: “You are a follower of sheep.”

Moving on to those who predicted “That’s not going to work in the locker room,” Brandt was just as unsparing in shutting them down. 

“Do you know that the personalities in this league have evolved dramatically?” Brandt asked, “Did you know that the head coach of the 2024 Bears is not Bill Parcells? This is a different time!”

NFL fans can see evidence of football’s evolution every year when players throughout the league wear pink on the field for breast cancer awareness. 

Raiders Offensive Tackle David Sharpe wore these pink cleats during a 2019 game. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But Brandt was at his most incisive speaking on behalf of the area where he grew up. While the social media outrage machine has already decreed that Williams’ image won’t work in Chicago, Brandt knows The Windy City is much different than its “Da Bears” image from decades past.

“I know that most of the country still thinks Bears fans are a 30-year-old SNL sketch. Chicago can be one of the most cultured and cosmopolitan cities in the world,” he declared.

As a proud resident of The City That Works, I can enthusiastically second this. Brandt cited the example of Chicago embracing Dennis Rodman and his gender-defying image to show how the city’s sports fans are much more accepting than their reputation of George Wendt in a fake mustache.

I would add that no less than Mike Ditka once famously posed for an ESPN Magazine cover standing next to running back Ricky Williams in a wedding dress. How did Chicago accept him again?

Frankly, Bears fans are so starved for a franchise quarterback who lives up to the hype that if Williams leads them back to the playoffs, they will celebrate every aspect of his personality.

No less an authority than former QB Robert Griffin III thought so too, as he tweeted:

If Williams takes the Bears to the Super Bowl, you’ll see every Chicagoan from Bill Murray to  Barack Obama to the Art Institute lions rocking pink fingernails.

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