Uniform inspector violated spirit of rule in confrontation with DeAngelo Hall

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Washington Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall was incensed after Sunday’s game with the Oakland Raiders when an NFL uniform inspector stopped a group interview because Hall was wearing an unauthorized logo on his polo shirt.

The inspector, however, over stepped his bounds in this case, according to a league source. Hall was simply wearing a black polo shirt with a Lacoste logo.

Rule 5, section 4, article 6 of the NFL rulebook does prohibit “wearing, displaying or orally promoting equipment, apparel or other items that carry commercial names or logos/identifications of companies, unless such commercial identification has been approved in advance by the League.” Similar language is used in the Player Policy Manual handed out to all NFL players during training camp.

However, the corporate logo policy is intended to stop, say Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III from wearing an Adidas hat during interviews. The league does not want its inspectors, all of whom are former NFL players, looking for miniscule branding on a shirt. That goes against the spirit of the enforcement.

Hall’s postgame interview with reporters after Washington’s 24-14 victory at O.Co Coliseum was cut short by the inspector, something the league source had never heard of happening before. Typical policy if a violation occurs is to tell the team’s public relations staff or pull the player aside and address it.

Hall and the inspector exchanged words and the player was angry enough to ask reporters to write about the interview being shut down. Hall then yelled over to rookie David Amerson, conducting his own postgame chat with reporters, and jokingly told him to stop talking or he’d be fined, too.

Griffin was hit with a $10,000 fine for violating the NFL’s uniform policy after donning an unauthorized “Operation Patience” t-shirt as he warmed up before a preseason game at FedEx Field against Pittsburgh on Aug. 19. He was not playing in that game. Needless to say, Hall’s teammates shared his sentiment on Sunday.

Hall has said in the past he feels targeted by league officials. He was fined a combined $35,750 for a horse collar tackle and a late hit during last year’s Thanksgiving Day game at Dallas. Hall was also ejected from a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Oct. 28 and fined $30,000 for an on-field confrontation with an official.

Here is the exact wording in the NFL Rulebook and in the Player Policy Manual.

LOGOS AND COMMERCIAL IDENTIFICATION

Article 6 Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or orally promoting equipment, apparel, or other items that carry commercial names or logos/identifications of companies, unless such commercial identification has been approved in advance by the League

office. The size of any approved logo or other commercial identification involved in an agreement between a manufacturer and the League will be modest and unobtrusive, and there is no assurance that it will be visible to the television audience.

Player Policy Manual

Logos And Commercial Identification Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or orally promoting equipment, apparel, or other items that carry commercial names or logos/identifications of companies, unless such commercial identification has been approved in advance by the League office. The size of any approved logo or other commercial identification involved in an agreement between a manufacturer and the League will be modest and unobtrusive, and there is no assurance that it will be visible to the television audience.

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