San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick disobeyed a recent contract signed by the NFL with Bose headphones when he wore Beats by Dre headphones in a post-game conference. The punishment? A $10,000 fine for wearing non-Bose headphones.
After a 13-year contract with Motorola as the headset sponsor of the NFL followed by one sponsor-less season, all NFL coaches are now required to wear headsets promoting the logo of Bose Corp., the new sponsor of the league. The agreement bans players from promoting any competing brands while on camera, whether during practice interviews, on the field or during post-game interviews up until 90 minutes after the game has come to an end.
Kaepernick,age 26, faces conflict with this new contract as he currently has an endorsement deal with rival of Bose, Beats by Dre. Kaepernick strutted the bright pink Beats headphones, said to be in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, around his neck during the post-game press conference after Sunday’s 22-17 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Beats by Dre has appeared to be the popular choice among NFL players prior to, during and after games. Per recode.net, “Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual,” said a Beats spokesperson. The spokesperson went on to say that music is an important aspect and has a positive effect on an athlete’s focus and preparation. NFL athletes have become accustomed to using Beats to tune out the noise of the crowds in the stadium, an idea that is supported in Kaepernick’s television commercial for Beats by Dre promoting the slogan “Hear What You Want.”
The NFL, however, stated that the recent enforcement is not demanded by Bose, according to recode.net. “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,” said an NFL spokesperson.
Although the ban is not specifically directed at Beats but rather at any brand other than Bose, the policy most harshly affects Beats as it is the largest competitor in audio headphone manufacturing, recently acquired by Apple, and gains much of its exposure through athletes.