Most workplaces have dress codes and the NFL is no different, as Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger found out yesterday.
The NFL fined Kruger $5,000 for a uniform violation.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Kruger said his fine stemmed from the back of his jersey being worn higher than the NFL allows, exposing the back of his shoulder pads.
Kruger told the Baltimore Sun he would be appealing his fine and hadn’t received any prior warning.
Since 1998, former Baltimore Colts safety Bruce Laird has been the NFL’s uniform inspector for all Ravens home games. Laird’s job is to evaluate the uniform presentation of both the away team and the Ravens during all games at M&T Bank Stadium.
While speaking with Tony Lombardi from RussellStreetReport.com, Laird indicated that Kruger had been written up prior to the previous game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s my responsibility to report any incidents of players not adhering to the uniform policies agreed to by the Players Union and the League under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Laird said. “After each game, I submit a report to the league that describes any such incidents.”
“From the first game of the year, Paul [Kruger] has been wearing his shirt the same way and I’ve written that up each week. Why the league waited until now to fine him now is a mystery to me.”
Much like a quarterback, Kruger wears padding to protect his lower back. At the age of 13, Kruger lost a kidney and spleen following a car accident.
Far from being a style issue like flashy-colored cleats or an unapproved message on eye black, Kruger’s “violation” is a matter of comfort. He has a condition that requires extra padding, and tailors his uniform around that necessity.
Ravens fans have grown used to seeing Kruger and his signature “flap” or “spoiler.”
If he loses his appeal though, it could be a thing of the past.