Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has become the first NFL player to be punished for wearing Beats headphones following last week’s policy change by the league banning all non-Bose headphones. Due to an exclusive sponsorship deal with Bose, the NFL prohibits players and coaches from appearing in any competitors’ headphones during interviews, both during games and off-season training, as well as for 90 minutes after a game ends.
After the 49ers/Chiefs game last Sunday, Kaepernick appeared at an interview wearing a pair of pink Beats by Dre headphones, resulting in a $10,000 fine from the league. While it was obvious that the player was wearing a pair of Beats, due to their iconic branding and logo, Kaepernick had little to say about the headphones, except for explaining that the choice of pink was to support breast cancer awareness.
Kaepernick himself revealed on Thursday of this week that he had been fined, adding that he paid the fee without contest. However, there does seem to be a lingering question of whether the Apple-owned Beats is reimbursing the player for the violation. When ESPN asked the player directly, Kaepernick simply stated he was “going to let that be unanswered.”
Kaepernick is one of a number of professional athletes that have signed endorsement deals with Beats, with him even appearing in one of the company’s high-profile television commercials, wearing noise-canceling headphones to ignore grief from shouting fans of an opposing team. With a relationship such as this, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched for the brand to cover the fine for appearing in their products.