The National Football League has made its share of bonehead moves through the years. But a recent decision by the football gods has got to rank right up there near the top of the dumb category.
San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan wants to wear a coat and tie on the sidelines next season. He thinks the dress - identical to the attire worn by his father when he was a coach - would add a little class to the sport. But the money-hungry NFL has an apparel contract with Reebok and coaches are expected to wear Reebok sweats, jackets, etc. on the sidelines. So Nolan is waiting for permission from Reebok, not the NFL, before he can choose his coaching attire.
I think this decision is an embarrassment on many levels. First, if a coach wants to bring some class to the sidelines and set the tone for his franchise, then let him wear a coat and tie. I can't imagine that Reebok would lose sales because a coach chooses a classy wardrobe instead of a Reebok sweatsuit. And as important, who in the NFL negotiated a contract that mandates what the coaches wear? If Reebok wants to control the team uniforms and the apparel sold to fans, so be it. But a coach is a different monster. He should be allowed to represent the team and the league in appropriate dress attire.
This is yet another illustration how money fully controls professional sports. The fans are just a sideline. It's the large corporate interests who want their piece of the pie. They are who controls the sporting arena today.
Can you imagine a coach wearing a suit and tie and then being fined by the league for inappropriate attire? Well just how silly do you want us to look in the world of sports?
The NFL should come to their senses. In a sport dominated by overpaid athletes, a little class surely won't hurt.
Maybe Reebok needs to design a coaches' suit appropriate for the sideline. But in our commercial world, that suit would probably have a logo and the coach's name emblazoned on the back.