Faceoff: NBA dress code draws attention

The National Basketball Association will implement a new dress code on November 1. The dress code requires all NBA players to wear business attire while on NBA time. The “bling banned code” requires players to wear dress shoes, dress slacks and sport coats to and from games.

The NBA is prohibiting chains, medallions, do-rags, sleeveless shirts, and indoor sunglasses.

The NBA’s reason for this change is because they are trying to clean up the league’s image.

But who says that by wearing a chain and sunglasses are a bad image? Who wrote the rulebook that says that if you wear a jersey and do-rag, you immediately send out a negative message?

This new rule is obviously another way that corporate white NBA is trying to regulate black players and their culture.

The majority of the people in cooperate positions in the NBA are white. So it’s obvious why they wouldn’t understand black culture or our dress. Furthermore, there are very few blacks in the corporate NBA positions to speak on the players’ behalf.

Why is it that the dress code prohibits do-rags and chains, the things that are connected to black people’s culture?

If the league were majority white and all of the white players were coming to the game in skater pants, chains and multiple piercing, would the NBA be trying implement a dress code for them? I think not.

Many players think that the new dress code is a form of racism because only blacks wear the articles being banned. But singling out neck chains is “definitely a racial statement,” says Indiana Pacer Stephen Jackson according to www.csmonitor.com.

It is amazing that the NBA is concerned with what their players are wearing instead of how they are playing. The majority of the franchise players, leading scorers and league MVP’s are black. So who cares what they are wearing to and from the games. When they get on the court, they are all in uniform anyway.

The league’s excuse is that players need to improve their image as role models. But teenagers think that the new rule takes away the freedom of expression from the players.

Ryan Hopkins and Sir John Thomas, two 16-year-old basketball players who attend the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies have a different take on the athlete-as-role-model rationale.

“I think the dress code is kind of harmful because as an adolescent, my instincts are to look up to the NBA for examples, and the way they dress is a sign of individuality to me and other young adults,” says Ryan. “To deprive them of wearing some of these things is racially insensitive.”

Peter Roby, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society, which aims to improve player-fan relations says he “doesn’t necessarily agree with installing a dress code.”

“There are so many ways we identify people… differences in dress, education, money, where they live, religious or sexual orientation, skin color, learning styles-but the bottom line is we don’t want to shape our opinions on what they look like, but getting to know who they really are.”