The CFL now has fashion police watching every player during every game.
Yes, that’s right, there are two dress-code monitors in each city this year, watching for fashion faux pas and issuing fines.
Designed by the league’s head office, the new dress code policy means a player can be fined if his socks aren’t pulled up to a certain length, his belt is undone or he’s flashing a company logo other than Reebok.
That is just a sample of the new rules that must be followed in the game.
In the past, the league didn’t have a structured fine system and rarely penalized players.
So far this year, nobody on the Eskimos has been fined.
But three Calgary Stampeders were fined on opening night. The Bombers were hit seven times in Week 1.
So, needless to say, the new policy isn’t drawing rave reviews from some players.
In fact, Winnipeg’s Doug Brown repeatedly ripped the CFL last week.
“I already have to have our equipment tech help tuck in my jersey every time I come on and off the field - because I could be fined for letting (an) offensive linemen pull it out of my pants on every play,” he wrote in his weekly Winnipeg newspaper column.
“Maybe I should look into getting a personal stylist, too - who can not only wield a full-length mirror, but help me with my knee-highs.”
The players are way off base in this argument. The CFL’s head office should be commended for the new rules. In the past few years, some players on some teams have looked unprofessional.
"I recall being at a football double-header last year - a college game in Hamilton and the Tiger-Cats played Calgary afterward - and people said to me: ‘How is it that the university players can look so professional and your guys (in the CFL) look so sloppy,’ ‘’ said Shawn Coates, the league’s director of football operations.
“We’re a professional league and our players should be looking professional and first-class. Quite frankly, it shouldn’t be too hard for players to dress properly.”
The league also has to please its major sponsor by ensuring a Nike logo doesn’t get national TV exposure.
“Reebok provides millions of dollars to the clubs and the players,” said Coates.
The new rulebook calls for:
White socks to be pulled up eight to 12 inches from the shoe, then coloured socks showing for another five to seven inches toward the knee.
Belt must be done up.
Jersey must be tucked in.
Competing logos on shoes must be covered up.
If a receiver wears a towel, it must be no more than one foot in length and attached to the front of the pants.
A first-time offence during a game brings a $250 fine. But the fine doubles to $500 for a second violation and doubles again to $1,000 for a third infraction.