Can NFL Players Wear Jewellery? (Find Out Here)
Because American Football is a high-intensity contact sport that often sees players colliding with one another, there are restrictions on which items of clothing can be worn. These restrictions are usually for safety reasons and to ensure no mandatory safety equipment is nullified. So can NFL players wear jewelry?
NFL players are allowed to wear jewelry during training sessions and games (subject to certain restrictions.) There are four common reasons why some NFL players choose to wear jewelry: style, religious reasons, sentimental reasons, and improved performance.
Along with exploring the types of jewelry players wear and why they choose to wear them, we will also look at the history of wearing jewelry in American Football and famous players that have worn it during their NFL careers.
What Jewellery Can Be Worn In NFL?
Because of the safety requirements of the NFL and the importance of brand loyalty, marketing, and sponsorship rights, the NFL and their respective teams have strict dress codes and safety requirements for all their players.
However, despite the strict requirements surrounding appearance and safety when wearing NFL kits, some flexible laws on personal appearance concerning hair and jewelry exist.
Consequently, players often look to wear jewelry and have hairstyles that show off their beliefs and individuality within the confines of the NFL’s appearance and safety policies. Therefore, the NFL cannot dictate the style and appearance of hair and jewelry below safety padding.
The only real restrictions on the type of jewelry that NFL players can wear are that the jewelry must not display negative or offensive imagery, and the jewelry must not pose a safety risk to other players.
In conclusion, the only restriction that applies to jewelry in NFL is that it must not consist of hard objects that could come into contact with other players on the field (such as diamond-encrusted rings.)
However, other forms of jewelry are permitted, even if they pose a potential risk to the player wearing the jewelry! (For example, a player wearing earrings may be prone to snaring and tearing earlobes!)
Note: despite the NFL allowing jewelry, many lower sporting bodies do not allow wearing jewelry during American Football games. High school and college level teams, leagues, and tournaments are the most notable bodies.
Why Do NFL Players Wear Jewellery?
There are four main reasons NFL players wear jewelry while playing:
- Religious reasons,
- Sentimental reasons,
The first and most apparent reason NFL players wear jewelry is to look stylish and express their individuality in league with an emphasis on uniformity and marketability (although the individual expression/appearance of NFL players is also a significant factor in marketability!)
However, some NFL players take this a step further by investing in expensive jewelry as a symbol of wealth and a status symbol.
However, many players wear subtle/modest jewelry under their jerseys and protective gear that complement the color and styling of their team’s kit (with some sporting necklaces with their team’s coloring and/or iconography.)
2. Religious Reasons
Players that wear jewelry for religious reasons usually opt for modest, simple designs that allow them to express their faith while not advertising it to the broader public (this is because the NFL does have rules regarding the advert expression of religious beliefs.)
3. Sentimental Reasons
Many players wear jewelry from friends, family, coaches, players, and fans. Players that choose jewelry for sentimental value often state that doing so helps give them the confidence and patience to perform at the highest level.
Finally, some players wear jewelry due to their perceived medical/performance benefits (such as Phiten necklaces and balance bracelets, which will be discussed in greater detail below.)
Although the scientific evidence for most “sports enhancing jewelry” is debatable, this hasn’t stopped players from continuing to wear them.
What Type Of Jewellery Do NFL Players Wear?
Generally speaking, baseball players wear three types of jewelry:
- Earrings, and
Some NFL players choose to wear necklaces under their jerseys and protective gear. While most necklaces are lightweight and made of simple materials, other players have been known to sport larger, heavier necklaces (provided they are not heavy enough to be a safety risk to other players!)
Furthermore, some players opt to wear “sports performance jewelry” to improve their physical attributes within the confines of the NFL’s rules. The most common sports performance necklaces are Phiten necklaces:
Phiten started in 1982 as an alternative medical provider in Japan, thus developing, creating, and distributing “performance enhancing jewelry” like bracelets and necklaces.
Their necklaces are made from titanium and coated in “Aqua-Titanium” the purpose of the titanium, along with the twisted rope design, is to realign the body’s biological electrical fields, thus improving performance and releasing tension in stiff muscles.
Despite the popularity of Phiten’s necklaces, there is little to no scientific evidence to support their performance-enhancing/medical claims.
Arguably the most common type of jewelry worn among NFL players, earrings are easy to keep within the confines of the rules, as any hard parts are covered by a players helmet (consequently, diamond-encrusted necklaces are commonplace among “flashier” NFL players.)
Bracelets are some of the least worn pieces of jewelry in NFL since the inclusion of heavy bracelets with hard parts would be banned by the league’s rules. Thus, players that wear bracelets typically choose lightweight bracelets made from simple materials.
Alternatively, some players choose to wear sports performance jewelry bracelets, such as balance bracelets, despite the questionable scientific findings regarding their legitimacy.
Do Other Sports Allow Players To Wear Jewellery?
At the time of writing, different sporting bodies limit wearing necklaces and other jewelry pieces for safety reasons.
For example, while the MLB sees many of their players sporting various pieces of jewelry (especially heavy and expensive chains!), the NBA doesn’t allow jewelry of any kind, especially chains, since they may present a choking hazard!
In conclusion, there are many reasons why NFL players wear jewelry, hence the inclusion of various styles of jewelry worn by players throughout the league’s history.