With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the implementation of social-distancing guidelines, NFL draft prospects won’t be given the opportunity to step on stage at a packed venue to shake hands with commissioner Roger Goodell when their name is called this year.
Instead, they’ll be each live streaming from their homes in a virtual draft. Suits are optional, but many guidelines are not. Pro Football Talk obtained a memo issued by the league that contains a list of 15 restrictions on what the players are allowed to wear when they flip the camera on.
1. Third-party logos other than those of NFL Official Licensed Partners; Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and New Era.
2. Disparaging depictions of the NFL, or any other third-party brands.
3. Non-NFL sports organizations or leagues.
4. Racial, religious, or ethnic slurs.
5. Explicit language.
6. Obscene, pornographic (or escort services), violent (including firearms or other weapons), or sexual imagery.
7. Libel or hate speech.
8. Political statements.
9. References to alcohol (including beer and wine), drugs (including cannabis), and/or gambling products (including poker).
10. Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes).
11. Reference to any illicit substances or activities.
12. Pharmaceuticals (including OTD products) including restorative and/or enhancement products.
13. Dietary and/or nutritional substances and products commonly referred to as “energy drinks.”
14. References to movies, video games, and other media that contains or promotes objectionable material or subject matter.
15. Derogatory statements regarding the NFL, its owners, employees, and/or NFL partners.
The big takeaway here is that players can’t wear any apparel that represents an entity that isn’t paying the NFL for advertising rights. According to the Action Network, players have also been told they can’t have any products that display brands not approved by the NFL in their camera shot, either. This includes things like headphones or smart watches too.
Instead, the league is sending prospective players “welcome kits” that provide them with NFL-approved products such as Pepsi, Gatorade and Doritos to hold or sit next to them while on camera.
In the past, players would sign one-off endorsement deals with companies of their choosing to wear related logos or place their products on their video stream if they opted to stay home for the draft. That changed last year, when ESPN told agents that they wouldn’t stream video feeds if they included products or logos of companies not officially partnered with the NFL.
Now, it’s the NFL handing out the mandate. With the entire draft going remote, league officials are evidently doing everything they can do to monetize it. Even though none of the players involved are signed with an NFL team, they’re subject to negotiating with solely league-approved sponsors—which the Action Network reports could cost them anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000.
For the players, their focus is on achieving a lifelong dream of being drafted into the NFL. It’s just costing them a bit more this time around.
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