Yes, even in the NFL fashion matters. It may not be the Milan Fashion Show, but an NFL game is expected to meet certain apparel standards and those who don’t follow the rules are subject to the admonishment of the NFL fashion police.
That happened on Sunday, with the NFL coming down on two Cleveland Browns players during the middle of the game. Based on past history, though, there’s a good chance that both will continue to march to the beat of their own drums.
Receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were called out by the NFL for not wearing the right cleats when the Browns met up against the Denver Broncos this past Sunday. Landry decided to show up in gold-colored cleats, while the headline-grabbing Beckham laced up some cleats inspired by the Joker of Batman fame. They included the same warped smile and shady eyes for which the criminal mastermind is known.
In 2017, the league decided to relax its cleat rules somewhat, giving way to the use of colors associated with players’ respective teams only. The rules still prevented the use of any logo other than those associated with the league or anything that might be considered offensive. The NFL also asserted that cleats couldn’t be used to portray any political views.
That didn’t stop Beckham that year from wearing cleats meant to honor the late Craig Sager, the well-known sports reporter who passed away a year earlier. For his “major” violation, he was fined $18,000.
This isn’t the first incident for Beckham this season, either. During his team’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans, he reportedly sported a $200,000 custom-made Richard Mille watch, although some have questioned whether or not the watch was real or a close imitation, but the league decided to not issue a fine in that case. Instead, they just slapped him on the wrist.
A week later, he came under fire once again with the NFL when they accused him of wearing a helmet visor that was “too dark.” For that offense, he had to be removed from the game in order to install a different visor. He was also called out for his pants in a different game, this one against the Seattle Seahawks. The league said he had violated “Rule 5, Section 4, Article 3, Item (4)” of its Official Playing Rules, which states that pants be worn over the entire knee area. For that infraction, he had to shell out $14,000.
Beckham will most likely not be ready to give up his uniqueness anytime soon. He believes that some of the rules are a little over the top and told ESPN’s Jake Trotter, “I think it’s crazy. … The NFL finds ways to just take it. They’re going to take it from you. I understand a penalty, getting fined for that. But pants above the knees, a shirt hanging out — and we’re talking about a T-shirt that cost $5 to make, and you’re getting $5,000 taken from you. Pads above your knees, and I’m like, ‘You really think that this little knee pad covering my kneecap is going to affect, if somebody hits me, weighs 250 pounds, running 18 mph.’ I don’t do physics, but if I get hit, this is not going to protect me.”
At the end of September Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints was fined for his headband, which stated “Man of God.” It was in response to a campaign to raise funds for a local hospital, but the league slapped him with a fine of $7,000. Unlike Beckham, though, he appealed the fine and the league relented. Davis ultimately donated the money to the hospital.
Beckham appears to be permanently on the NFL’s radar and this won’t be his last fine. He states, “It sucks to get fined for socks. Or in the middle of the game, have someone come up and it’s like, ‘Oh, your jersey is out.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, I’m not worried about my jersey in the middle of the game.’ I’m worried about what assignment do I have. A visor, this. All those little things that could be eliminated … stuff that doesn’t need to be so strict. … I just wish they could not worry about some of that stuff. Worry about the game. Worry about the other things that are going on.”