Sunday, August 9, 2009

Don't Get Fined


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.
$5000 fines
- High/Low whites on socks
- Pants not covering knees (no skin should show below the waist)
- Bandana
- 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)

$10,000 fines
- 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

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This has gotten ridiculous. I understand the premise of how this came under scrutinization; however, there is a point where it just goes too far. I can see how they can make the argument that your chinstrap being undone can potentially lead to an injury or something but frankly, as a fan, I don't give a crap what shoes you wear, what nose strip you have, etc. As for the jersey being untucked that one always blows my mind. I can't believe that when you're trying to concentrate on a game you have to worry about your jersey after someone has pulled it out. I'd rather you be worrying about winning the game.

As for the statements that players are making on Twitter or wherever I think that there should be a level of respect for the NFL, that I don't think all players have, and not make bonehead comments that make them look selfish and stupid because it is a privilege to play in this league and the guys who really want it work hard for it and some don't make it. Having said that if you're making a comment saying something like "I don't think this is a rule or something we should have to worry about" then free speech all the way man and the NFL should butt out.

Is former Redskin Tony Mcgee still the uniform nazi? he was back in the day.

Dude, same color tape? Does that mean wristbands and elbow pads can't be one of the attire colors as well, anymore?

And what are wrong gloves? How can you have a wrong glove? Does that mean mismatching gloves, or gloves that don't have the attire colors? Santana can still wear his gold cleats and gloves, correct?

This is stupid. And the messages thing... what's wrong with that? I never understood it. If its gang-related, sure. But if you're doing it as a tribute (like Ryan Clark's ST tribute on the eyeblack, or to some cancerous child you met in the hospital that week) there shouldn't be a fine handed out. And the untucked jersey rule is fucking stupid. What if you're running a 2 minute offense with no timeouts and someone yanks your jersey (you cant fix it because it'll be a false start) when you head back to the line in the hurryup... are you supposed to take a fine? Is it a fine just for the game, or for every play from scrimmage that your jersey is untucked?

And what if you poop your pants, like a marathon runner? Will they fine you for wearing brown?

its just a way for the league and teams to keep a few dimes out of the players hands. 1. I would wonder if the NFL can show proof that the fines are going to charity. 2. Fans don't care about uniformity, I am willing to bet you would find more fans in favor of non-uniformity. I blame it all on those Brit's at Reebok, the British have always hated the american spirit of individualism.

Well I kind of have a different point of view.
The military has certain standards and if they are not maintained they are dealt with in a certain manner. I am not saying "Order the Code Red!", but I can appreciate standards. It is because of the extremes and the people that push them that that everyone has to suffer. The NFL is a brand, and the bottom line is if they are writing the checks they are writing the codes. The fans may not notice or care if CP wears different shoes or socks but imagine if the whole "O" line decided to wear Punky Brewster style colors. At what point does Individuality replace team? For the few years that players are privileged to play (I know you work hard for the privilege I am not downplaying that) Follow the rules, the codes and accept the fines. It May seem extreme but that is why you are in an ELITE league. You are the best now stop whining before Someone Orders the "Code Red" on your wallet. Go Skins!!!

Oh and Why is Tom Brady mister no chin strap on Entourage right now instead of the Coolman!?!

The punky Brewster card aye. Well I love the NFL, but the fascist way the NFL runs the league is stupid and annoying, what is Obama running it?(I kid, I Kid) It's run like a religous cult(like C street or right wing extremists)espousing family value's meawhile there are killers, adulter's and drug addicts amongst them. I regress, I loved watching the "fun bunch" celebrate back in the day. It's just overboard,can't celebrate with this or that, can't piss down the coach's leg, as long as they wear the same helmet, jersey and pants, whats the problem? Does the NFl think it a slippery slope from the "wrong" nasal strip, too serial killer??? Stupid I tell you.

BTW Chris it must be nice to have a job that you can actually afford to pay $10,000 fines. I make 3 times that in a year, wow, I take back my earlier post, the NFL should stick it to you guys!................sarcasm.

Dude, these fines are definitely tax deductable. It's money out of your income that goes back to your employer -- so you have less earned income, so you pay less income tax. It's not deductable like a direct donation to a 501(c)(3) charity, but it definitely, 100%, without a doubt will reduce your tax burden.

I find it interesting that the NFL is the one that actually gets the tax deductions for these fines. So it's all well and good that they support a Charity, but the NFL wins either way.

Personally, I think it would be better that the fines go towards player retirement pensions or injury compensations. Maybe the NFLPA should look into that during negotiations.

Blame the show-offs. These "see me!" guys ruined it for the rest of you. It's not until the "Ocho-Cincos" of the league decided to make it all about themselves did the fashion-police start to crack down.

If I'm the owner of "Breathe Right" nasal strips and paid the NFL a shit-load of money to be an official sponsor, then I sure-as-hell better see every player with my brand nasal strip on their noses. Same with Adidas, etc..

This is a business... a BIG money business and as far as I can tell it's voluntary to be part of it.

Chris, I know you are pretty laid back and the purpose of this post - while not explicitly complaining about the policy - is obvious: You think the policy is retarded. You aren't going to get a lot of sympathy from the average Joe, though.

PS. It's "rescinding" and $10,000 is 100% bigger than $5,000.

PPS. I love the Redskins and your are just about my favorite Skin! F-Dallas!

24Thunder...There is nothing wrong with espousing or taking up the cause of "Family Values"... my gawd what is wrong with people today!!

NFL there is nothing wrong with having fun on the field as long as it is not taunting or disrespectful. You have went overboard on this issue and are treating players like kids! I like the celebrations and funny stuff players like to do! I guess it is a nice income for you the NFL... GG!

Molehead ...Just sounds real disingenuous coming from hypocrites(family values).If you don't know what is wrong or proper behavior, with or with out "family values"(code word for religion)than your truly a lost "soul" so to speak.

This is crazy...come on 7 to 8 inches for a towl..what the heck. Also a doctors note for a vizor...since when are nfl players pre-schoolers..come on. And i belive that personal messages should be aloud as long as theirs no curse words written. and can i ask what is a wrong nasal strip is? who in the world is going to go on a football field and examin nasal straps...someone with no life.

24 Thunder... True... nobody likes to hear stuff from people wh say one thankg and live another or the "Holier than Thou" type people who look down on you cause you are not what they deem worthy. Got it... thanks for the clarity :)

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This is the dumbest thing ever... What if you're a brand loyalist and you don't like Reebok and prefer Nike? What if you're sponsored by Nike or Adidas? You have to rock Reebok stuff before and after games? What about iPod holders? Do they have to be official NFL merch? This is ridiculous.

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Thanks for the comment but clean it up next time.

Reedonkulous! I don't know how you manage to censor yourself from ripping those absurd rules, but I guess avoiding a fine makes it easier to chill.

Did they say anyting about Belichick dressing like a homeless person?

Chris, First of all, I have to tell you that I am the husband of a Washigton Redskin fan (I am a NY Giant fan) and any time there is a Giant/Skin game on, I usually say some not-so-nice things about you. I really enjoy reading your blog. You tell it like it is and everyone appreciates that. Keep up the good work and I hope you don't get fined (too much) for your opinions. Good luck this year in every game except the two against the Giants.

Somebody is in need of a crane kick with these bogus rules. Whatever happened to looking good, playing good? I suggest a full body spat to match your cleats. I didn't see any rules regarding that. No messages tho.

Whatever happened to sleeves? Most guys wear them severely short, and some, especially linemen, don't have them at all. Their jerseys look like vests. How about fining guys if you can see their armpits? I'm not suggesting that they should go back to wearing long sleeves or even elbow-length sleeves, but a good compromise would be sleeves that reach to the middle of the upper arm. That way, the stripes or rings on some uniforms can go all the way around the arm instead of going one-third the way around. The new look is ugly and unprofessional. No, the players shouldn't be concerned about getting on the cover of GQ, but start fining them for cutting off their sleeves. Or is flexing their muscles and showing off their tattoos really that important to them?

The word you're looking for is "rescind", not "resend".

No Fun League strikes again....Welker getting a fine last year for doing a snow angel really amazed me. I can understand Goodell not wanting over the top celebrations, it sets a bad example for kids.....but a snow angel come on!

Do they allow for differences caused by medical issues other than tinted visors? I mean, if "Breathe Right" nasal strips do not work for a player, but another brand of nasal strips does, can they get a waiver for it?

I can understand the rules, and even the strict enforcement of them. The NFL is big business, and they are paid a nice chunk of change by their sponsors. Even the visor thing is understandable (fans want to see their team's player's smiling faces!).

If I were a business that needed some exposure, would you be willing to place one of my personal ads on your helment, chinstrap or headband if I pick up the $10,000. Hell that's cheap compare to a 30 second spot during a game!

MSB.. It started before Ocho. You can thank Jim McMahon and his headbands back in the 80's for a lot of the crackdowns.

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I must say Mr. Cooley, your uni is looking pretty sharp there.

Man they have gone so corrupt. Yeah, let's put the burdon of a blanket sponsorship (Reebok) on the player's "private life". Last time I checked, even my employer does not require me to wear ACU's 90 minutes prior formation and C.O.B. 90 minutes post. I trust that to be purely authored by thirst for money. Too bad it's really the players who are paying.

I'm just curious what the total fine would be if you came out naked.

lol is cooleys fly down in the picture?

I don't have a problem at all with the NFL uniform code. The NFL is the most successful professional sports league in the U.S. for a reason. The commissioner and owners carefully control the product to provide a consistent and precise brand to the masses. To that end, the exacting look of the uniform from one player to the next is critical to their message. All successful corporations carefully control their brand recognition.

agree with jonese. you get paid all that money, you can wear the uniform however youre told. jesus, get over it.

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