(USA Today Sports Images)We sometimes forget the amount that professional athletes get fined for various infractions is a massive amount of money in the real world. Some safety will deliver an illegal hit and be rung up with a big fine, and we kind of overlook that the amount could be used to buy a Mercedes.
So try to contextualize this bit of news: San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore was fined $10,500 for wearing his socks too low during the NFC championship game. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news:
Not made up as much as it sounds like it: 49ers RB Frank Gore fined $10,500 today for wearing his socks too low in NFC Championship Game.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 23, 2013
Let that sink in. NFL players are required to wear their socks high to meet with the bottom of the uniform pants. Gore wore his socks about a foot too low down his leg, and for this, the NFL is going to take TEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS from him.
Did you even notice Gore's low socks against Atlanta on Sunday? Would you have noticed in the picture above had the headline not tipped you off to look? Does it matter to you if you did? Probably not. And for that, Gore paid enough money to send a family on a Hawaiian cruise. Just a guess, but the fashion statement probably wasn't worth the money for Gore.
In fairness, this can't be Gore's first warning from the NFL's "sock police." The league generally doesn't give out massive fines on a first offense, and they're on the field before the game looking for violations and will try to let the player know if he needs to fix something to avoid any punishment. Gore very likely ignored many warnings before the big fine came down. And the NFL isn't wrong to want to keep its uniform standards, or it opens itself up to players modifying the uniform however they want.
But still, in a real life way, fining a a guy more than $10,000 because his socks weren't above his knees seems excessive. Who knows how much the league might make him pay if his socks aren't right on Super Bowl Sunday.