It’s no accident some say NFL stands for “No Fun League.”
This week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received a $10,000 fine for wearing the wrong brand of headphones to a post-game press conference on Sunday, Oct. 5.
The NFL has an exclusive endorsement deal with Bose, so showing up in a game-related situation wearing a competitor’s product is a no-go -- even for Kaepernick, who was wearing a hot pink pair of Beats by Dre headphones to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month. He noted via Instagram, "I support breast cancer awareness! My grandma is a survivor!....... *shrugs* some things are now important!"
Reporters asked if Beats might pay the fine on Kaepernick’s behalf, but the quarterback eschewed the question, as outside parties cannot pay league fines, according to NFL rules.
Watch Kaepernick star in a Beats commercial, soundtracked by Aloe Blacc’s “The Man”:
The NFL defended its stance in a recent statement:
“The NFL has longstanding policies that prohibit branded exposure on-field or during interviews unless authorized by the league. These policies date back to the early 1990s and continue today. They are the NFL’s policies -- not one of the league’s sponsors, Bose in this case. Bose is not involved in the enforcement of our policies. This is true for others on-field.”
This sort of headphone exclusivity isn’t unique to the NFL. At the 2014 World Cup, all players were forbidden to wear Beats headphones due to an official licensing agreement between FIFA and Sony Corp.