Common sense rules pros

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET

The tatoo wasn't objectionable. At least not in the sense you'd expect when thinking about what could be of poor taste.

But that didn't prevent Calgary Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins from insisting receiver Mike Juhasz cover it before hitting the turf for the CFL clash.

"He has a Nike swoosh on his body," recalled Higgins. "That's a competing logo (for a major league sponsor) and we were in easy stead to make him cover it. That was no problem.

"We had a bit of a chuckle."

Body artwork may be more prominent in this day and age but that hasn't sparked the NHL or CFL to bring about a policy regulating them. Common sense is the guideline.

"Tattoos are a matter of personal preference the player's part and, other than expecting the player to observe basic decorum with regard to general appearance, we would not want to dictate the terms of personal preference in this regard," said NHL spokesman Frank Brown.

Seeing as hockey players are literally covered from head to toe when in action, it's not like they're much of an issue.

For the most part, players who are inked will cover their tattoos when attending oficial functions.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery landed in some hot water with team management last season after appearing on the cover of the Sun in a photo which captures him getting his arm tattooed.

Coach Bryan Murray stresses he had less problem with Emery getting the tattoo than he did with the media coverage of the event.

"People do what they do," says Murray. "I don't want to make it a big story ... the only thing I said to Ray last year, if you do that, and you sit there and get your picture taken, every young kid in Ottawa wants to be like the pros.

"When you do that, some parents probably are concerned. Other than that, guys can do what they do. As I 've said my whole career, I don't sit at the door at 11 o'clock and check curfew or things like that."

Higgins said searching through players' tattoos isn't something he considers, though it could impact the players' opportunities for lucrative marketing down the road.

" It's not something you will search for on someone's body," Higgins said. " You say offensive but that's subjective. One thing that is offensive to someone might not bother someone else. If you do find something offensive and it's a spot that can be covered up, that's something you can deal with.

" If there is something that does become offensive, part of being a pro athlete is marketability anywhere in the world. If you do something that doesn't allow you to be marketable, your chances of playing as a professional become limited.

"It's never been a huge concern where we thought we would need a policy in place. I would be ever so cognizant if it was something that spreads hatred, you would consider whether you want that person on your team. It would be something to address. I wouldn't stick my head in the sand."


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