Night net The Cowboys, led by tight end Jason Witten, tried and failed to honor the five police officers killed in a downtown Dallas shooting in July. Th
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Outraged by Cowboys helmet decal tribute denial? Direct fury at the true culprit


Outraged by Cowboys helmet decal tribute denial? Direct fury at the true culprit

Night net The Cowboys, led by tight end Jason Witten, tried and failed to honor the five police officers killed in a downtown Dallas shooting in July. The "Arm in Arm" helmet decals Witten wanted players to wear on their helmets this season were nixed by the Night net as a violation of its uniform policy.Confused? Outraged? We don't blame you. But direct your disapproval not at those who made this particular decision, but at the policy that forced those decision makers' hands. The Night net's uniform policy is strict enough to make one wonder what the league is trying to hide. Is it trying to conceal the personalities, views and backgrounds of its players? Is it trying to create a false perception of unity under its glorified shield? Does it simply prefer the optics of formality?MORE: 10 things the Night net can do better The policy, right out of Rule 5, Section 4 of the Night net rule book:"Players generally must present an appearance that is appropriate to representing their individual clubs and the National Football League. The term uniform, as used in this policy, applies to every piece of equipment worn by a player, including helmet, shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads, and any other item of protective gear, and to every visible item of apparel, including but not limited to pants, jerseys, wristbands, gloves, stockings, shoes, visible undergarments, and accessories such as headwear worn under helmets and hand towels."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 otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. All such items approved by the League office, if any, must relate to team or League events or personages. The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns."CASH: DeAngelo Williams asked for what

the league should do itselfThe policy is clear, yet examples of violations are endless.There was DeAngelo Williams' eye black, which honored his family members who died of breast cancer. There was Brandon Marshall's green cleats for Mental Health Awareness Week. William Gay wore purple cleats in an anti-domestic violence effort knowing he'd be fined and hoping the Night net would donate his money to the cause.Cam Newton wore Under Armour facemask clips. Frank Gore wore his socks too low. Chad Johnson taped an "Ocho Cinco" name plate to the back of his jersey before legally changing his name to Chad Ochocinco. Falcons players flashed their "Free Mike Vick" undergarments.Wes Welker, Alex Smith and Brian Urlacher wore unauthorized hats in front of TV cameras. Robert Griffin III went through his pre-game warmup wearing a T-shirt that read "Operation Patience," a personal message as he recovered from knee surgery. We could go on.All were fined.In the context of the absurdity that is the league's longstanding policy, its ban of the Cowboys' honorary helmet decals is routine.Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones, whose dad Jerry as the team owner has a say in the policy, provided the reason exceptions are nearly impossible to warrant."There are tons of things out there that need to be recognized," Jones said earlier in camp when talking about the possibility of wearing the helmet decals all season. "Once you open that Pandora's box, how do you ever stop?"The Night net's reputation as the "No Fun League" applies in the context of rule changes to make the game safer and penalties for excessive celebrations. It doesn't necessarily apply here.MORE: Ugliest Night net uniforms of all timeThere's nothing fun about breast cancer, domestic violence, mental illness or national tragedy. Unfortunately, their recognition falls under the umbrella that is policy violation. Unfortunately, according to the policy, their recognition is viewed the same as that of non-sanctioned apparel brands, inadequate sock height, baseball caps and T-shirts without team logos.The Night net is the definition of a control freak. The question is why, and the answers are theoretical.But those who declined the Cowboys' request to wear honorary decals were in the right. It's the policy under which they acted that's wrong.

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