The NFL Draft is one of the most popular and exciting couple of days in American sports. Hundreds of college hopefuls dream of catching the eye of professionals, making it to the league, and living out their childhood dreams as the next great hall of famer, or part of a Super Bowl-winning team. This year was no different. The League’s 81st draft took place in the last week of April this year, and was one of the most talked about things on social media, and not just because of the 253 players selected to join teams. Clothing choices from some of the players was also a highlight of the event.
More specifically, Ohio State running back, Ezekiel Elliott, was the focus of the conversation. Elliot, who selected in a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys, was already going to be talked about because of his storied career and undeniable skill, but his decision to turn his button-down shirt into a crop top made even more noise than he likely expected, or maybe it was intentional? At any rate, the star player set social media and traditional media ablaze, with fans laughing at, taunting, and/or praising him for the stand-out choice, for which he seemed proud. Yet, for NFL officials, this wasn’t a laughing matter. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the newbie $10,000 for the uniform violation almost immediately.
This isn’t the first time the NFL has used its strict clothing and uniform policy to whip players into shape. Stars of the game have been fined for everything from ill-fitting pants to colored shoes, as shown in this post from The Riches. Yet, the examples used are players who were on the field and already a part of the league, leading some critics to question whether the decision was too harsh. Elliott didn’t think so. In fact, the running back laughed it off, saying his decision likely helped him in catching the attention of the Cowboys and be chosen so early.
Furthermore, for those who’ve followed Elliott’s career, his affinity for crop tops isn’t new. Just last year, Elliott made headlines calling out the NCAA rule which bans crop top jerseys, saying the rule is “silly.” He even took a political route and reportedly received almost 10,000 signatures from fans calling on the association to change the rule.
Still, it’s important for aspiring (and current) players who’d like to avoid fines, or onlookers who question what qualifies as a violation, to note what the NFL considers to be within its rules for apparel. The NFL Rulebook details a number of acceptable items, from headwear to gloves, on the official website. It also states that professional attire is a must, and given how swift the organization has been at enforcing this rule recently, we should believe them.
What are your thoughts on the issue?