With ESPN rooting it on, USA Today has turned the game-day attire of NFL players into a fashion show. Their arrival is akin to the walk of fashion models down the runway. No toxic masculinity here, and the feminization of the American male continues in full swing.
Victoria Hernandez, who loves purple, is the community engagement producer at USA Today who specializes in the crossover of sports and culture. Her NFL critique for week 2 had nothing to do with bone-jarring hits and trash-talking on the field, everything to do with players’ nifty attire, demonstrated by the above file photo.
Pregame player arrivals “have become catwalks of their own,” Hernandez writes. “This includes players showing up in outfits and accessories meant to turn heads. Some go big like Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson, wearing top of the line suits and designer sneakers. While others take a more subtle approach to their game day fit, such as Seattle Seahawks lineman Poona Ford who — instead of going aspirational — went inspirational, donning a T-shirt with a powerful message.”
Hernandez started her review with the Eagles’ Fletcher Cox, who showed up for Monday night’s fashion battle with Minnesota “walking confidently in a light yellow ensemble, which had ESPN's Monday Night Countdown crew hooting and hollering.”
"Don't ever tell me that you can't be 300 pounds and sexy," Booger McFarland said on ESPN. "You can do it!"
Tennessee’s Derrick Henry came with swag for his team’s Monday night game as well. Hernandez has the call: “He opted for Louis Vuitton head to toe. His breezy shirt and pants set featured the label's signature blossom print and a touch of geography. The running back pulled out the purple from the mountains on the outfit with his matching Millionaires shades. He topped it off with a purple and black baseball cap that read ‘Malletier,’ a reminder of the fashion house's origins as a luggage maker.”
It sounds like there’s much more to the game of pro football than the average fan knew. Like Micah Parsons, of Dallas, who sported a “dark double-breasted suit with a grid pattern paired with dark shades and leather Chelsea boots said, ‘Don't mess with me’," Hernandez raved.
How about former Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, of Cincinnati? What’s his fashion status? Hernandez has the scoop. He took the flight to Dallas “wearing a burgundy grid-patterned jacket with burgundy pants and the Jordan 1 Bordeaux sneakers. While the pants are a little wrinkled and regular, the gray and black Louis Vuitton duffel bag reminded the haters he's still Joey B.”
Jets rookie Michael Cleamons “tucked a dark button-up into gray slacks with a simple belt. A gray Panama hat and single gold chain finished off the look,” Hernandez explained.
Can you feel the toxic masculinity draining from the NFL?
Indianapolis defensive end Kwity Paye made a strong – whoops, a sweet – showing with a lavender lapel-less jacket and matching pants. His Nike SB Purple Lobster sneakers were “the icing on the cake. Is it obnoxious? Yes. Is it great? Yes,” Hernandez said.
Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence made the catwalk, too. He showed off a Three Stripes' collaboration with Gucci: a purple and red bowling shirt featuring both brands' logos in an interlocking pattern. “Très chic,” Hernandez gushed.
We can’t ignore Carolina’s Donte Jackson either. He brought the drip, as Hernandez says. It was a well-tailored maroon suit with white pinstripes, Christian Louboutin sneakers “(that's right, red bottoms),” classy tortoise shell shades and hair in “a loose bun that served as the crown fit for a king.”
Hernandez included many more examples of the suave, dapper attire of NFL players, indicating that it’s just not a good day for toxic masculinity.
Gillette, which featured the toxic masculinity advertisement in 2019, should be so proud of the NFL’s fashionistas. There is hope that the NFL will eventually become known more for its fashion than its brutality and toxic masculinity.