Camp is well underway so let the multitude of meetings continue - all kinds varying from local gang activity to how to handle your baby's mama. A training camp wouldn't be right if the team didn't acknowledge every aspect of daily life, and oh yea, don't let me forget the compelling hours spent on the finer points of offense/defense. Whatever meetings are on the horizon make for a special surprise, but it seems something always needs addressed. One of my favorite annual meetings was held as the the team gathered restlessly yesterday afternoon. The NFL dress code and fine schedule.
Because this seems to be a sensitive subject I feel inclined to reserve all judgements on the way the National Football League runs things and simply state the facts. I have learned from the mistakes of fellow players like Antonio Cromortie that announcing public disdain can become a fine in itself, even if it's tweeting something as simple as bad food in training camp.
Per our meeting with the Redskins uniform checker (I can't think of a better title) I fully understand the NFL has established dominance over what the players will wear on and around the field. This is a classy game and nothing like a hand towel taped up or a t-shirt coming out of a jersey is going to jepordize that.
To begin our meeting, a couple important items were given attention. First, the league will not be recinding fines like they have in the past - if you mess up with the uniform you're basically paying, no questions asked. Second, an example will be made out of, what the NFL considers, second time offenders. This consists of anyone who has received a uniform fine in the past, but not just the recent past, all the way back to previous seasons. If you have a second time offense the fine is usually around 100 percent more. The league is also taking inventory from last season about what players have been getting away with. For example, I have had my jersey tailored for the last couple seasons and have now made it on the possible offenders watch list. Other guys have been wearing their socks to high or too low, many have their pants too high, some have the wrong gloves, others are trying to put messages on their tape. We have even gotten to the point where were naming offenses after players, like the Tom Brady, I won't buckle my chinstrap, so now I'm gonna get fined rule.
The actual strategy of the uniform checker was also brought to our attention. Whoever is in charge of the home stadium will be spending the game scouring the field and sideline with a pair of binoculars. No player, coach, trainer, or ball boy will be passed up in the search for uniform infractions. The lively-hood of the uniform checker is at stake here and he takes this job very seriously.
The meeting went on and on about how the NFL wants guys to feel good and look good, but it seemed to keep contradicting itself with the concept of nit-picky fines. We ended with a couple questions, I asked where the fines went after they came out of the check. The answer, "to charity." Clinton figured that the fine would be a tax deduction since it was going to charity, but that idea was confirmed with a direct no, and an explanation that the money would be taken pre taxes out of the check. We wrapped up with the dude telling us that he played 12 years in the league and understands the way guys want to wear their uniform, but he will still fine us if we don't comply. Awesome.
Just for fun I figured I would list some of the fines mentioned in our meeting and different amounts.
- High/Low whites on socks
- Pants not covering knees (no skin should show below the waist)
- Wrong nasal strip
- Hand towel alterations - towel must be 7 to 8 inches and have no tape on it
- Tape not the same color of the shoe.
- Jersey untucked (usually there is a warning for this one)
- Jersey cut too short
- Sleeves coming out of jersey - only QB can have this and only a certain amount can come out
- Chinstrap undone ($7500)
- Personal messages
- Any second offense fine
- Wrong attire 90 minutes previous and after a game - clothes must be Reebok apparel
- Tinted visor - must have a doctors note for a tinted visor
There is also a special fine schedule for the post season. The minimum fine in playoff games will be between 10 and 20 thousand dollars. The minimum in the NFC Championship is between 50 and 75 thousand and for the Super Bowl the minimum is 100 grand. It's been made very obvious the NFL and it's sponsors want the players to dress accordingly.
I think my uni is pretty solid here - I've never been fined
Sunday, August 9, 2009