Dress Code Violation: A Closer Look at NFL Uniform Policy

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Dress Code Violation: A Closer Look at NFL Uniform Policy
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
How long before counterfeits of Nike's designs hit the market?

$100. A Benjamin. A C-note.

To update my now-shamefully-outdated Reebok Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas #73 replica jersey, I'm going to have to drop $100 for the sleek, NASA-tested, CIA-approved Nike ProGiveMeYourDucats Series replica jersey.

We're not talking stitching or special "We've existed for ____ years!" patches. This is the baseline, entry-level, starter-set jersey. For $135, I could get the fake jersey featuring the "Flywire," and kind of resembling the real McCoy (pun intended), or for $250 I can have the same exact shirt as the real McCoy.

I have yet to bless the planet with my undoubtedly handsome and articulate progeny, but if I did have a little RedBeard, Jr. and I wanted to get him a #98 Phil Taylor youth jersey? $70. $70 for a shirt that will fit him for three years, tops. Given the awkward pace at which I grew, he might need a bigger size by week 13 or so.

What kind of responsible parent pays $70 for a piece of clothing? I understand making adults pay a premium, but now a working-class parent has to save an entire day's wages for a piece of mesh to make their kid's fall?

Good thing for Christmas, says the quick-thinking Nike exec. 

When Nike established a $100 minimum buy-in for adults in the NFL jersey market, I doubt they considered the substantial favor they had done their competitors in the counterfeit apparel industry.

Within the parlance of law enforcement, the term "balloon effect" resonated throughout the late 20th and early 21st century.

The theory applied to the drug war as follows: as authorities intensified enforcement in one area—for instance, Miami and south Florida in the 1980's—they drove up costs in those markets to the extent that other opportunistic markets popped up elsewhere.

Like squeezing a balloon, the macro-economy of drug-supply and demand proved less malleable than it appeared. With pressure applied in one area, airflow re-distributes unpredictably.

NFL jerseys quite literally represent the paraphernalia of America's most popular legal, non-chemical (or chemicals-optional) drug-of-choice: NFL football.

During a tough economic climate, Nike's raising of replica jersey prices alienates the NFL's working-class market, enhances an already lucrative illicit market and could cost them financially in the long-term.

You can follow me on Twitter: @StepanekButton

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