San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick informed the media on Thursday that he was fined $10,000 for wearing his Beats by Dre headphones. Over the weekend, word got out that the NFL had entered into a deal with Bose. The deal meant that players could not wear headphones by any other company during the televised portions of the game, and the pre- and post-game interviews.
Colin Kaepernick is a well-known endorser of Beats by Dre, and is spotted with them before and after most games. When asked who would be paying his fine, Kap played it a little coy:
I asked Colin Kaepernick if he or Beats by Dre will pay the $10K fine. "We'll let that be unanswered," he said.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) October 9, 2014
Kap is not the first person to be fined for some kind of uniform or sponsor violation. Players are often aware of a given issue, and are willing to pay the fine. My guess is for most of these guys, the sponsor will be willing to kick in for some or all of the fine given the additional publicity it can create. Beats by Dre will get some free publicity from this, and considering their recent acquisition by Apple, there are probably a few bucks to cover these kinds of fines.
I get that the NFL has its sponsors to look out for, and thus the fines do make sense. But every time the league proclaims how important player safety is, I find myself seeing fines for this and uniform violations being more than those for plays that can potentially cause injuries. The NFL is certainly allowed to be concerned about sponsors, but let's not pretend they are nearly as concerned about player safety as they make themselves out to be. The league is concerned about it primarily in a financial sense.