How the NFL set the stage for a rap-like battle to break out on the football field

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib fights Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree during the first quarter of Sunday’s game. Both were ejected.
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib fights Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree during the first quarter of Sunday’s game. Both were ejected. AP

You don’t mess with another man’s chain.

That’s an unwritten rule. Well, at least that’s what I gathered growing up as a fan of rap music.

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib got away with it once, but Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree wasn’t going to stand for it a second time.

In a bizarre scene Sunday, a brawl broke out between the Broncos and Raiders following an altercation between Talib and Crabtree. It started as a shoving match between the two before getting very heated, leading to Talib snatching Crabtree’s chain from his neck. Punches were thrown and it was an absolutely ugly situation.

What I don’t get is why in the world players are allowed to wear jewelry on the field in the first place.

As a has-been basketball player myself, I occasionally play in adult leagues around here, and one thing the referees make sure of before games is that you aren’t wearing jewelry that could become a hazard. And that includes simple things such as earrings.

The reason is simple: It could lead to injury.

An avid fan of the NBA, I’ve also wondered why players are allowed to wear the rubber band bracelets – like those made most famous by Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” ones – during games.

Just imagine that you go up to block a shot and instead get a finger caught in one of those.

According to the NBA rule book, “The officials shall not permit players to play with any type of hand, arm, face, nose, ear, head or neck jewelry.”

Hmm … is this yet another reason to say NBA refs aren’t doing a very good job?

The NFL, meanwhile, has very extensive policies when it comes to players’ uniform requirements. From everything I can gather, players are allowed to wear certain types of jewelry, including a chain that goes under the pads and jersey.

For a league that is very specific about the way a player’s socks are displayed I find it puzzling as to why it’s OK with jewelry being brought onto the field.

There’s no reason for it.

The only plausible argument I could see is if a player wants to wear his wedding band, as some believe those are to never be taken off, and some players do just that. And a ring doesn’t seem to pose any kind of threat.

I’m not suggesting completely banning chains. Who doesn’t love the Miami Hurricanes’ “Turnover Chain?” That’s been a fun story line all season – albeit one that stays on the sidelines.

However, an on-field chain obviously is a problem. Talib first grabbed Crabtree’s chain last year, and there obviously was still bad blood brewing from that incident.

That all boiled over Sunday, when the NFL once again was in the news for all the wrong reasons.

I wonder if you’re allowed to bring your wallet onto the field with you. I mean, other valuables are OK, right?

It seems crazy to suggest that the NFL add more rules to its uniform policy, but I think we’ve come to that point.

That way, when Talib-Crabtree want to go all 50 Cent-Ja Rule on us, there will be no chain to snatch.

Perhaps then it wouldn’t escalate in such an embarrassing manner.

The NFL needs to step in here and then it’s all a wrap.

David Wetzel: 843-626-0295, @MYBSports