NBA dress code: Necessary? Racist?

maxterpiece

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Mar 5, 2003
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Maybe this could be a poll (if there is interest).

NBA Commissioner David Stern has instituted a new dress code in the NBA. Previous to this dress code there were no league-wide rules regarding how a players must dress.

Here is an outline of the rules Stern has set out:
Philly Inquirer said:
NBA Dress Code

Business Casual

Players are required to wear business casual attire when they are engaged in team or league business.

A long-sleve or short-sleeve dress shirt (collared or turtleneck) and/or a sweater.

Dress slacks, khaki pants or dress jeans.

Appropriate shoes and socks, including dress shoes, dress boots or other presentable shoes, but not including sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, or work boots.

Business Casual Exceptions

A player who is in attendance at games but not in uniform is required to wear the following additional items when seated on the bench or in the stands during the games:

Sport coat.

Dress shoes or boots as well as socks

Players leaving the arena may wear either business casual attire or neat warm-up suits issued by their teams.

Special Events or Appearances

Teams can make exceptions to the business casual policy for special events or player appearances where other attire is appropriate. such as participation in a basketball clinic.

Excluded Items

Items that players are not allowed to wear while on team or league business:

Sleeveless shirts.

Shorts.

T-shirts, jerseys or sports apparel unless appropriate for the event, such as a basketball clinic. The clothing must be team-identified and approved by the team.

Headgear of any kind for a player sitting on the bench or in the stands at a game, doing media interviews or appearing at a team or league event, unless the headgear is appropriate for the event or appearance, team-identified, and approved by the team.

Chains, pendants or medallions worn over a player's clothes.

Sunglasses while indoors.

Headphones (other than on the team bus or plane or in the team locker room).
On the surface these new rules may seem perfectly innocuous, but to me, the devil is definitely in the details on this:

1) A lot of the specifics hear are clearly targetted at the hip-hop culture - the culture that arguably is what the NBA road to becoming one of the most popular sports in the USA. It's not a coincidence that in the 80's the growth of the NBA and the growth of hip-hop culture ran exactly parallel. Banning chains, "certain unapproved headwear" - IE doo-rags, and baseball hats, sunglasses when worn indoors? I feel like my grandpa made these rules.

2) Players have to wear a sport coat on the bench: this seems way over the top. Forcing players to wear a button down seems reasonable.

3) Personalities: what makes the NBA so appealing to me is the way that individual talent is so important, but it is useless unless it is applied within a team concept. Baseball is almost all individual and football is almost all team. It is because of this that NBA personalities are so important. Suppressing certain styles is suppressing certain personalities. This is incongruous with the way the game i s played, and is not only going to hurt the NBA's popularity, but it is unfairly targetting certain styles.

From what I've read, Stern instituted this dress code because he was getting pressure from team owners who were uncomfortable with the way their players were dressing.

The NBA wants it both ways. They want to make money off of hip-hop culture and at the same time make money off of big corps. What they don't seem to get is that big corps like guys like Allen Iverson.

What's next? No tattoos? No corn-rows? No facial hair?

The bottom line is this rule never would have come about if the league was 80% white and all the white guys were coming to games in T-Shirts. We'd just see them as athletes being themselves and being comfortable.
 

jelloshotsrule

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Feb 7, 2002
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what i don't get is just how far reaching these rules are. players have mentioned that they can't dress how they want on the plane ride from one city to another cause it's "team business". that is a joke. i agree that the restrictions on court-side apparel should be a notch less. button up shirt, who needs a sports coat? and then the chains... crazy. it's sad that they are trying to restrict the personal/expressive freedom of those people who are making them tons of $.

in conclusion, i think some restrictions being in place in public settings are fine, but these go too far.

which reminds me- i heard a rumor that AI's arm sleeve is worn primarily to cover up potentially offensive tattoos.... is that true? or is it just injury related?
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
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i don't have a problem with it. makes the players look more professional. if they don't like it, they can play in the european leauge. no different from my job (except they make more $).
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
14,874
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This probably has nothing to do with the antics and problems off the court and a swing back to projecting a more professional image when the players are with the team.

Of course these days, dressing the part of a professional athlete sure has diverged from business casual.

They may find it extremely tough to go back to the stuffy business suit image.
 

xli_ne

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Mar 3, 2005
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i like the dress code, just not the way that Stern decided to enforce it like 2 weeks before the season and kinda of out of the blue. it just seemed weird the way it was presented and I think that is why a lot of people started bashing it.
 

ZoomZoomZoom

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May 2, 2005
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I'm not sure if I can agree with the policies being racist, but I can see how some things might seem over the top. It's probably because the change is so radical. I say leave the players be, as long as things like offensive tattoos are covered.

At the same time, thinking about this issue isn't anywhere near the top of my priorities. NBA players make plenty of money. I have no pity for them having to change their wardrobe a little bit to continue earning their millions of dollars.
 

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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Sod off
Nonsense people, these players are making a FORTUNE playing basketball. 99% of us make a small fraction of what they do yet adhere to dress codes. Basketball is a big money entertainment business and they can make the players wear pink bunny suits for all I care, they have every right to.

This has nothing to do with racism at all. I think a lot of hip-hop style looks silly, does that make me a racist?

maxterpiece said:
The bottom line is this rule never would have come about if the league was 80% white and all the white guys were coming to games in T-Shirts. We'd just see them as athletes being themselves and being comfortable
I totally disagree. You make it sound as if suits are for white people only. My god man, what century do you live in? Your white/black comparison is a strawman.

Repression of freedom of expression? Rubbish. Maybe they should call the ACLU if they think they have a case, but Stern has every right to institute this dress code. If the players really feel like putting their million dollar jobs on the line because they can't wear whatever they want I'd be more than happy to show them the door.

The players are members of a team, and the NBA wants them to have a professional appearance in public. Baseball and the NFL are generally more strict with the dress code, so this is nothing terribly new.

Pink Bunny suits! Did you hear me Stern?
 

maxterpiece

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jelloshotsrule said:
which reminds me- i heard a rumor that AI's arm sleeve is worn primarily to cover up potentially offensive tattoos.... is that true? or is it just injury related?
i never heard that. i thought it was like rip hamilton's face mask. he wore it for an injury at first, but then got used to it and kept it on.
 

Toppa G's

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Jun 19, 2003
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ZoomZoomZoom said:
At the same time, thinking about this issue isn't anywhere near the top of my priorities. NBA players make plenty of money. I have no pity for them having to change their wardrobe a little bit to continue earning their millions of dollars.
I agree with this statement. If someone was paying me as much as a typical NBA player, I sure wouldn't complain about having to wear nice clothes. Heck, I do it for far less money. There's nothing wrong with a little professionalism.
 

clayj

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Jan 14, 2005
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It's necessary if the NBA is to stem the tide of people who no longer give a rat's ass about the NBA because of a small minority of players who act like gangstas and complain about their $15 million salaries as not being enough to feed their kids.

And it's not just the fans... a lot of corporate money, including for high-priced luxury boxes, is at stake. If the people who are paying the bills aren't happy with the service they're receiving, they'll either take their money elsewhere or expect things to clean up.

No one is saying these guys can't dress how they please when they're "off the clock". It's not racist at all... it's good business, and if they can't see that, maybe they'd prefer to be playing for $100 down at the local basketball court.
 

maxterpiece

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ZoomZoomZoom said:
I'm not sure if I can agree with the policies being racist, but I can see how some things might seem over the top. It's probably because the change is so radical. I say leave the players be, as long as things like offensive tattoos are covered.

At the same time, thinking about this issue isn't anywhere near the top of my priorities. NBA players make plenty of money. I have no pity for them having to change their wardrobe a little bit to continue earning their millions of dollars.
I'm not asking the question, "do NBA players make enough money to justify being forced to wear certain clothes?" I'm merely of the opinion that some of the specifics of this new dress code are paradoxical. The NBA isn't trying to sell suits - they are trying to sell jerseys and everything that goes along with that style. These rules reek of ignorance.

Lord Blackadder said:
I totally disagree. You make it sound as if suits are for white people only. My god man, what century do you live in? Your white/black comparison is a strawman.
Black people wear suits all the time. NBA players play basketball. They can choose to wear suits if they like. That's how i think it should be.
 

clayj

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Jan 14, 2005
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SilentPanda said:
How in the world is this "racist"? I think you're looking into it too much.
You seem to have forgotten that the modern definition of the word "racist" is "anything you say that I don't agree with for ANY reason and that I can twist around into being about my ethnicity, my culture, or the color of my skin".
 

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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clayj said:
You seem to have forgotten that the modern definition of the word "racist" is "anything you say that I don't agree with for ANY reason and that I can twist around into being about my ethnicity, my culture, or the color of my skin".
Damn straight. Hypersensitivity towards racism, coupled with the usual dash of ignorance, can lead to some pretty ridiculous situations.
 

bankshot

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Jan 23, 2003
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I was surprised to hear that there wasn't a dress code in place before. At least on the teams I follow (go Clippers! :D), I've always noticed injured players in a shirt and tie on the bench. And when they show players arriving at the arena, most of them are decked out in full suits. This dress code doesn't even specify formal wear (just business casual in most cases), or even a tie. I just don't see the controversy - they're professionals and their employer has every right to require that they dress that way.
 

maxterpiece

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Mar 5, 2003
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clayj said:
It's necessary if the NBA is to stem the tide of people who no longer give a rat's ass about the NBA because of a small minority of players who act like gangstas and complain about their $15 million salaries as not being enough to feed their kids.

And it's not just the fans... a lot of corporate money, including for high-priced luxury boxes, is at stake. If the people who are paying the bills aren't happy with the service they're receiving, they'll either take their money elsewhere or expect things to clean up.

No one is saying these guys can't dress how they please when they're "off the clock". It's not racist at all... it's good business, and if they can't see that, maybe they'd prefer to be playing for $100 down at the local basketball court.
Ownership is misguided if they think a dress code is the solution. You throw millions of dollars into the pockets any 18 year old (or now 20 year old) kid and you're surprised that they become brats? Being an NBA player requires a lot of responsibilty and it takes these kids some time to learn. There aren't very many players throwing fits about not making enough money, but remember, the NBA isn't just making these kids rich, it is making a lot of old white guys very rich as well. These people are the performers and they deserve their fair share of the money.

Most NBA fans like the NBA because it represents the creativity. There are a bad apples, but look around for an NBA player being unprofessional once they have been in the NBA for several years and you're hard pressed to find one. Iverson has grown up. He is all about being the best player he can and representing what he believes in. Did you see Stephon Marbury give 1/2 a million to katrina relief? He was crying at the press conference.

There are nutjobs as there will always be. Latrell Sprewell is a nutjob. His demanding that he needs a contract extension so he can feed his kids was offensive and ridiculous. Ron Artest definitely has some screws loose. But you don't see him with an NBA contract now do you?

ANyway, none of this has anythign to do with the way players dress.

bankshot said:
they're professionals and their employer has every right to require that they dress that way.
Everyone here keeps talking about the right htat an employer has. Everyone knows that the owners have every right here. The issue is do they have a reason? And what is that reason?
 

Jaffa Cake

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Aug 1, 2004
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maxterpiece said:
The bottom line is this rule never would have come about if the league was 80% white and all the white guys were coming to games in T-Shirts. We'd just see them as athletes being themselves and being comfortable.
Just to play Devil's Advocate here... if the league was 80% white and all the players had to come to games in suits, would there be such a fuss?

There are lots of other sports where teams enforce a dress code on players who are traveling to games or who are 'on team business'. I don't really think that this situation is that much different, but maybe that's just me.
 

Lord Blackadder

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maxterpiece said:
...ANyway, none of this has anythign to do with the way players dress.
Which is precisely why this dress-code shouldn't be an issue to anybody. Whatever expression the players have to make should be done on the court.

...Or they can marry themselves like Dennis Rodman.
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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maxterpiece said:
Everyone here keeps talking about the right htat an employer has. Everyone knows that the owners have every right here. The issue is do they have a reason? And what is that reason?
They should have said it was a league effort to inject professionalism back into the sport, and to help shore up dwindling sponsorship/advertising dollars -- after the battering some of these individual sports have gotten recently.

Of course it's just a band-aid to a deeper problems for sports off the field/court.
 
Aug 20, 2005
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Unfortunately, when a majority in power decides to make and enforce rules/standards (weather good or bad) on a minority - people automatically scream racism. It's crazy.

My heart really bleeds if some over-paid ball player has to wear a $8000designer cashmere sportcoat while sitting on the sideline. Puhleez...gimme a break!
 

maxterpiece

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BrianDavid0523 said:
Unfortunately, when a majority in power decides to make and enforce rules/standards (weather good or bad) on a minority - people automatically scream racism. It's crazy.

My heart really bleeds if some over-paid ball player has to wear a $8000designer cashmere sportcoat while sitting on the sideline. Puhleez...gimme a break!
I don't know about you, but I allow myself to think about the moral state of western society, so whether millionaires, poor people, blacks, whites, christians, pagans or mac fanatics make a decision based on ignorance, I will at least stand up and voice my opinion.

I feel that the reasoning behind and the specific rules of this dress code are sketchy. Do I feel that they are obligated to listen to me? No, of course not. But by the same token, I am not obligated to keep my mouth shut.

My heart bleeds for the guy who wastes his whole life only worrying about money and stepping on others' faces to get there. My heart bleeds for the basketball player who is playing hte game he loves to play and playing his heart out and enjoying expressing WHO HE IS on and off the court, and something like a dress code comes in that is specifically targetting individual expression among a certain group. It pollutes the game with political garbage. It is fake.

Money is irrelevant to this discussion!
 

firestarter

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Dec 31, 2002
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maxterpiece said:
I don't know about you, but I allow myself to think about the moral state of western society
Too right - agree 100%. They should support morality and be a good role model to America's youth.

If that means wearing suits rather than associating themselves with a bankrupt 'gangsta' culture of drugs, guns, pimps and 'ho's' then bring on those suits....
 

dan-o-mac

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Oct 12, 2004
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maxterpiece said:
something like a dress code comes in that is specifically targetting individual expression among a certain group. It pollutes the game with political garbage. It is fake.

Money is irrelevant to this discussion!
They don't want the players to portray a ghetto image when they are engaged in team or league business. What's the problem?