The NFL is going forward with its virtual draft on April 23, but in true NFL fashion, it’s not leaving anything to chance.
In a memo to potential draftees obtained by Pro Football Talk, the NFL reportedly laid down the law with a number of rules governing what they can wear on draft night. Since the draft is taking place virtually and everyone involved will be at home, the 58 invited potential draftees don’t need to wear suits like they usually would, but that doesn’t mean they can wear anything they want.
NFL sets virtual draft dress code
Some of the rules are pretty straightforward, nothing different than you’d find in a high school’s dress code. No clothes with explicit language, or racial, religious, or ethnic slurs. Nothing with violent or sexual imagery, political statements, or hate speech. Also out of the question are clothes that reference tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or gambling, and anything disparaging the NFL.
After that, the rules stop being about objectionable clothing. The draftees can’t be seen on camera wearing a brand logo that doesn’t belong to one of the NFL’s official licensed partners (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Era), or anything from a non-NFL sports league. There can be no references to pharmaceutical products, not even over-the-counter medications. The same goes for nutritional substances and “products commonly referred to as ‘energy drinks.’”
Rules take NFL sponsors into account
According to PFT, it’s about more than what the potential draftees are seen wearing. Those rules also cover what’s on camera with them at all times.
“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 reads, according to the Action Network.
That means Coke products must be banished in favor of Pepsi products, since Pepsi is an official NFL sponsor. None of them can have Apple AirPods in their ears, because Bose is an NFL sponsor. They can’t be seen snacking on a Chobani yogurt because Dannon is a sponsor.
The draftees, by the way, must comply with these rules in order to appear on camera in the NFL’s virtual draft, even though none of them have signed a contract with a team yet. According to PFT, the NFL is helping them out by shipping each potential draftee a “welcome kit” of NFL approved products instead of an appearance fee.
Being “paid” in free sponsor products feels very NCAA, so it reminds these soon-to-be professionals of what they’re leaving behind. This whole virtual draft exercise also serves as a great intro to the NFL, because the NFL won’t stop telling them what to do for the duration of their careers — but unlike the NCAA, at least they’ll get paid for it.
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