NFL issues strict dress code, guidelines against political statements ahead of this year’s draft

The 2020 NFL Draft set to begin this week will look a bit different thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the National Football League is reportedly making sure that potential draftees who’ll be participating in the stay-at-home event are still going to be subject to some strict guidelines, including a dress code.

A memo to the players lists what is considered off-limits for those who will be participating. And while they don’t need to wear the suits normally expected, the NFL was making it clear that no political themes or references will be allowed, as reported by Pro Football Talk.

Clothing with “libel or hate speech” and any with “political statements” were listed as prohibited in the document, which also included no “racial, religious, or ethnic slurs,” no “explicit language” and no clothing that depicts  “obscene, pornographic (or escort services), violent (including firearms or other weapons), or sexual imagery.”

“Do NOT have any products displaying brands or logos that have not been approved by the NFL within camera range of your feed for the NFL Draft broadcast,” the memo to the 58 players read, according to Darren Rovell of

Players who do not want to comply with the list of rules can simply choose to refuse the invitation to the virtual broadcast of the draft.

But the NFL is also looking to “ensure that ts 50 official league sponsors and partners are protected and not ambushed by non-league partners,” according to Rovell who noted that, although the players haven’t yet signed any contracts, their appearance is “property of the NFL.”

Players appearing in the broadcast will reportedly be receiving a “welcome kit” instead of an appearance fee which will include PepsiCo products, Frito-Lay snacks, and Mars candy in an effort to steer clear of stepping on any of the league’s paid partnerships. The clothing worn by the players can only display logos of NFL teams or official partners like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour or New Era.

NFL prospects can’t wear clothing with “disparaging depictions of the NFL” or “derogatory statements regarding the NFL, its owners, employees and/or NFL partners,” according to the memo which also added no “references to movies, video games, and other media that contains or promotes objectionable material or subject matter.”

The league’s strict dress code is not new and previous punishments for players who wore symbolic colors on their socks and armbands, as well as issues over helmets, have unleashed criticism of the  “No Fun League.” But with the controversies over the last few years over protesting players using the games and their uniforms to make political statements, as Colin Kaeprnick’s infamous kneeling during the national anthem, the league apparently wants to steer clear of any controversies that will affect the bottom line, especially with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first round of the draft begins Thursday and Twitter users had some thoughts about the latest NFL guidelines.


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