There’s a scene in acclaimed romantic sports comedy Jerry Maguire where a small child asks an enormous basketball warrior to sign his trading card. “I’m sorry little fella,” the hulking ball-dunker announces. “I can’t sign that particular brand of card. I can only sign Pro-Jam Blue Dot cards.” That film came out nearly 20 years ago. Since then, sports brand exclusivity contracts have become even more binding, and players have become more brazen about flouting them–for the sake of other endorsements.
The NFL, currently very much embattled, has an endorsement deal with Bose that precludes NFL players from being seen using any competing products in a situation that might end up on TV. Which has got to be pretty difficult since, in an age where everybody has a video recording device in their pocket, famous humans might end up on TV in any situation. Despite a reported $10,000 penalty, though, NFL players like Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton have decided to remain true to themselves–and their true selves prefer Beats By Dre. (Here is a Cam Newton commercial for Beats and here is one from Colin Kaepernick.)
Kaepernick has already been fined, and the above image should cost Newton the same financial wrist-slap as well. Interestingly, both players are seen wearing pink Beats, apparently for Pinktober, the month-long celebration of NFL-branded pink apparel, the profits of which are supposed to go to breast cancer research, but don’t all quite make it. Perhaps Texas Instruments will offer an endorsement deal to whomever can use its calculators to determine how much money goes where for an endorsement that complicated.