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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Player Fines: How the Wrong Nasal Strip Can Cost You 5 Grand

Besides the nuances of the salary cap and a bunch of other issues, the Collective Bargaining Agreement that governs the relationship between the players and the NFL clubs also creates the authority of both the Club and League to impose various fines upon the player in relation to his various on the field activities. This week, I will discuss the fines that the League can assess (having too many cars or wearing ugly suits is not included):

Uniform/Equipment Violation: anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000

$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 6 by 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

In regard to the "Other Uniform/Equipment" League fines, the following rules are applied to each NFL player (Note: before the season each player receives a copy of the uniform rules both in narrative and picture version):

Jersey -- has to be tucked in. Extra short or jerseys cut above the waist are prohibited. Sleeves can not be torn or cut.

Towels -- are limited to a maximum of 6 inches wide and 8 inches long. Must be tucked into the front waist of the pants.

Exterior Socks -- must be a one-piece solid white from the top of the shoe to the mid-calf with the approved team color(s) going from the mid-calf to the bottom of the pant leg, which is to be pulled down below the knee.

Pants -- must be pulled down over the knees. The knee area of the pants must not be altered or cut away.

Shoes -- Each team must have either all-white or all-black shoes throughout the team. Note that tape on shoes and stockings must be transparent or a matching color. (Note: even though proper taping of shoes is allowed by the League, this "spakking" of shoes could cause the player to violate the terms of a shoe endorsement he may have).

Sideline Appearance -- the only caps that players are permitted to wear on the sidelines is headwear provided by an NFL authorized supplier. Smokeless tobacco is also prohibited on the sidelines.

The NFL has hired various ex-players to attend games and assess violations of the beforenoted uniform violations (the "Uniform Police"). For purposes of a player violating the cap and/or smokeless tobacco rules, the Game Referee is also authorized to use his judgment to determine whether a breach occurred.

Other fines include:

Overweight: maximum fine of $453 per lb. overwieght, the fine to be assesed no more than two times a week and at least 3 days apart

Unexcused late reporting for mandatory minicamp, team meeting, practice, transportation, curfew, scheduled appointment with Club doctor or scheduled promotional activity: maximum fine of $1,500
[Note: if player misses any of the above the fine is increased to $9,079]

Losing, damaging or altering Club-provided equipment: maximum fine of $1,500 and replacement cost

Unexcused late reporting for or absence from pre-season trainng camp by a player under contract: maximum fine of $15,888 per day

Loss of all or part of playbook, scouting report or game plan: maximum fine of $9,079

Material failure to follow rehab program prescribed by Club doctor or trainer: maximum fine of $9,079
Physical Contact with Game Official: $15,000 first offense, $25,000 second offense

Verbal or other Non-Physical Offense Against Official: $15,000 first offense, $25,000 second offense

Flagrant Personal Foul: $7,500 or higher, fine and/or suspension determined by degree of violation

Fighting: $5,000 first offense, $12,500 second offense or in extreme cases suspension

Unnecessarily entering Fight Area (active involvement): $2,500 first offense, $5,000 second offense

Unnecessarily entering Fight Area (no active involvement): $1,000 first offense, $5,000 second offense

Excessive Profanity toward Opponents, Game Personnel, Fans, Your Mom, Media, etc.: $5,000/$7,500

Taunting: $5,000/$7,500

Ejection from a game: maximum fine of $15,888

Throwing Football into Stands: maximum fine of $1,500

Foreign Substances on Body/Uniform (i.e., Grease): $10,000/$15,000
[Note: Team management and coaching staff can also be fined for permitting foreign substance violation]

Note a player can challenge the imposition of any fine and/or suspension imposed by the League through the use of an independent arbitrator to determine the sanction's validity (both in terms of whether an infraction occurred and/or the amount of fine/suspension). Usually the fine is taken out of the player's paycheck by his Club when imposed and them later refunded to him if he is successful on his appeal in having it reduced or eliminated.