NFL players don’t care about league fines, still wearing Apple’s Beats headphones

“Wearing the wrong headphones will cost players $10,000,” Barry Petchesky reports for Deadspin. “That’s clearly not enough to deter them, and it’s a goddamned bargain for this sort of advertising.”

“The NFL’s deal with Bose is, like many of its other corporate sponsorships, an exclusive one. That means no competing products anywhere they might end up on TV. This leads to coaches and quarterbacks getting confused by their Microsoft Surface tablets, even as oblivious announcers refer to them as ‘iPads,'” Petchesky reports. “It also leads to Colin Kaepernick (and almost certainly Richard Sherman) getting slapped with $10,000 fines for wearing the wrong brand of headphones last week.”

“Kaepernick was cagey when asked if Beats was covering the cost of his fine. (‘We’ll let that be unanswered,’ was his exact reply.) But let’s be honest: even if it’s coming out of his own pocket, $10,000 is a pittance compared to what Beats is paying Kaepernick to endorse the brand,” Petchesky reports. “Same goes for Cam Newton, who was rocking Beats during warm-ups [yesterday]… Richard Sherman too.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
NFL bans Apple’s Beats headphones on camera – October 6, 2014


  1. Good God Almighty, who the f cares what these simian yetis put on their heads…if Beats was the choice of Paul McCartney or virtually any professional musician, it would be a logical endorsement. What headphone a missing link, tire-throwing orangutan selects is an exercise in stupidity.

            1. Soccer simians are no different. Adults chasing a ball, getting paid obscene amounts of money for that by other adults who watch them.

              I’m fascinated by the obsession of large parts of the global population over professional sports. Watching other people exercise, chase balls, swing sticks (or bats, or rackets), kick, jump, run… Perhaps I’m in minority, but when it comes to sports, I much prefer participating myself than watching others participate.

            2. Do you know what is even more startling—the existence and success of Twitch! Millions of people watching others play video games—turning an interactive “sport” (vidgaming) into a spectator sport. Huh?

              It gets scarier when realising that both Google and Amazon were vying to acquire Twitch, with Amazon just recently winning out (whew!). I haven’t yet figured out the implications of this and other corporate moves into gaming.

              Apple has always seemed rather aloof in this respect, winning in the casual gaming market without even trying. Maybe the rumoured new TV addresses core gaming in a new, disruptive way.

            3. Sports are the modern day version of gladiatorial combat. Sports embody spectacular human power and speed. Team sports involve group coordination for a common goal, much like battlefield combat. Sports also offer chance, uncertainty and sudden changes in fortune that provide thrills similar to gambling (and obviously mesh very well with gambling).

              I don’t understand obsessions with sports. I do enjoy watching basketball from time to time. I also enjoy the Olympics, both for the international rivalries and the variety of sports not generally seen on TV – curling, for instance.

              Participation is great, particularly when one is in decent shape and is reasonably competent at the sport in question. I always preferred playing basketball to watching it. But, for various reasons, many people prefer to watch sports rather than participate, and it really is not ours to judge.

    1. My thoughts exactly. But then sports are a complete bore and waste of time to me. Worshipping these immoral mercenary wife beating, drug abusing, jail prone, endorsements self-imploding jocks who could a damn about anyone but themselves is not something that appeals.

      Sports spectators might as well be saying”My life is a total bore and I desperately need the time filling diversions.” Your mileage may vary. 🙂

            1. My concern wasn’t with your avatar, but with the code words that frequently come from wannabe nazis mouths.

              If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

              Well you know the rest.

            2. funny thing about opinions… every a**hole has one…

              based on your code words and avatar… I would say the exact same thing about you…. so I guess this circular reference remains unresolved.

      1. Really? And by how many did your last album outsell McCartney’s?
        He’s still a perfectly accomplished MUSICIAN, however, his songwriting skills are not up to when he was working with Lennon.

  2. In a comment I made about the 1st MDN article about this subject I stated that this Bose product placement was both “wrong and silly”. I stand by that statement in that Beats is getting great advertisement and Bose looks like they can’t get high profile people to use their products unless they pay their bosses to do so.

    1. What Bose tried to do was disrupt the personal endorsement agreements worked out by individual players with Beats. The exclusive agreement with the NFL takes money directly out of the pockets of players who have multi million dollar agreements with Beats. It’s an underhanded strategy to cheaply fight Beats by making those agreements null and void, against the wishes of the players and Beats.

      It’s now backfiring badly for Bose. The conflict not only gives Beats more publicity than Bose. It makes the Beats-using players into rebel heroes, which not only increases their credibility with the demographic Bose would most like to attract, it makes Bose look like the stodgy, establishment bad guy who can’t compete on a level playing field. Somebody in the Bose advertising department needs a pink slip.

      1. There’s nothing underhanded by Bose — it’s perfectly legitimate business. Bose is paying the NFL lots of money to be the official sponsor.

        And it’s not taking any money out of the athletes’ pockets who endorse Beats. Their contracts are still valid, they still get paid, and if anything their status is elevated because they are going against the NFL (No Fun League) and being contrarian. Beats couldn’t have dreamt of a better ad campaign!

        1. It would be taking money out if individual athletes’ pockets if it were working as planned. The $10,000 fines are supposed to kill the endorsement contracts, but it’s backfiring because the fines are too small.

    1. Me four – not the first time either- I reported this months ago and MDN replied blaming an ad network. Months later they still force the App Store on me at times with no screen interaction at all. I’ve never had this from any website on iOS device ever.

      Terrible from a web site supposedly upholding Apple’s ethics and methods.

    2. It’s not MDN’s website. It’s some advertisement. I’ve seen this trick used on many websites. It’s a flaw that allows the advertisement to trigger the mechanism normally used to take you to a link, when being directed to a particular application on the app store. So you go to a page, you’re reading along, and the ad pops up and poof you’re moved to the App Store.

      IT IS SO GODDAMN ANNOYING. Sorry. I lost it there. It is beyond POP up annoying. I know it’s got something to do with

      1. There are ways to be free (mostly) from obnoxious marketing attacks on the web…

        My attitude: If the customer isn’t treated with respect, the marketers can’t expect to be treated with respect.

        Hmm! A hint of RIAA and MPAA in the air ~ ~ ~

      2. I tried blocking it and as well but it’s still able to bounce me off the website and into the app store.

        Every time I’ve ever seen this it takes you to some stupid innocuous game. I can’t believe it actually gets people to purchase the game. There’s got to be more to this than meets the eye, like they’re being paid for each pair of eyeballs they land on the app store or something.

  3. This isn’t working out too well or Bose. Instead of viewers seeing players wearing Beats, we’re now reading stories about how they’re so keen to wear Beats that they aren’t concerned about a $10,000 fine for doing so.

    Every time a player gets fined, the kudos of the Beats brand get a huge boost and Bose looks to be playing the bad guys even though the NFL are doing their dirty work for them.

    1. I do agree there’s no accounting for aural taste with Beats headphones. They are ghastly sounding. Some old modestly priced Sony MDRV6’s and Grady SR80 headphones I got blow them out of the water. Beats is strictly for the uninformed uninitiated.

      1. Beats is for sheeple who follow trend rather than trusting their own judgement and going their own way. They would buy dog droppings and pronounce them scrumptious if that were the trend of the moment. The story The Emperor’s New Clothes is an apt description of the kind who buy Beaten by Dre.

        Apple is the Cool Kid in class these days, but not so long ago having a Mac got you teased and taunted by the Dell and Vaio owning trendsters. Now they buy anything with an Apple logo and those who can afford to will doubtless line up to buy the new Apple Watch.

        Look at who Cook hired to run Apple Retail- someone who has specialized in selling clothes made in sweatshops for exorbitant prices to the clueless and aspritaional wannabe class. Nothing like asking a King’s Ransom for a couple of bucks worth of material assembled in a sweatshop in Asia or Central America with underpaid child labor.

        1. No, Beats is for people who like massive bass with a cool look. They’re designed for the type of music their customers listen to, which obviously is not the kind of music any of the above posters have on their iPhones.

          1. Beats do not sound like live music- not that Hip-Hop is music. Running one’s mouth in a rhythmic manner over a canned drum track is hardly the same as playing a Saxophone, a Guitar, a Piano or whatever.

            Hip-Hop is an art of some form, but is most definitely NOT music. Music of any form played by real musicians sounds better on headphones that sound natural.

            Those big chunky cans are uncomfortable. Lightweight, flat response, wide dynamic range is what one wants when listening to music. Beaten By Dre headphones are about being seen- not about listening.

        2. I’d rather people didn’t use overused putdown words like “sheeple”. It’s rarely that simple. Some people just have yet to be educated about good or great sound is all. Beats headphones is kind of an atypical Apple product because they didn’t design it. Now if Ives takes it, improves it’s components and make some decent headphones out of it, that’ll be good. However I don’t even like existing Apple earphones so I’m not hopeful.

          I have no problem with the hiring of Angela Ahrendts. Let’s see how that one plays out. I think she might surprise you. Hopefully.

          There are cheaper solutions to everything out there if you think Apple charges too much. You may not like what you find however.

    2. The Bose deal also includes all of the sideline coaches’ headphones, a deal which replaces Motorola as the official headphone supplier of the NFL. So it’s not just music listening headphones.

    1. Was watching a bunch of games yesterday.

      First quarter, Surface used on sidelines showing previous plays to many QB’s etc.
      2nd quarter on.. many teams were back to using 3 ring binders. LOL.

      Players not worried about fines for using Beats, next we will see Coaches/Teams getting fined for using iPads or 3 ring binders instead of the Surface.

      1. That’s because they’re having a lot of problems with the Surface actually working properly. The tablets are so hobbled that all they can do is display photos, so they’re nothing more than a photo picture frame.

    1. They can at work. But NFL is legally allowed to be a monopoly, that should come with some strings like a requirement that they behave in a classy way, instead of grubbing for every bit of money they can get.

    2. the NFL is a private company. Just like McDonalds etc.

      If they say you have to wear a certain item, they can fine/fire you for not doing so.. With no legal recourse.

      If GM tells you that you must wear Dockers instead of Levi’s.. If you wear Levi’s you can be fined or sent home until you wear Dockers. And they are 100% legal in doing so.

      Private company, their rules. You have no right to tell an employer how *you* will dress.. If they have a dress policy and you do not follow it… *you* are in the wrong. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with it..

      1. In a way, it is like GM telling you that you can’t own a Honda. Although, in GM’s case, I can’t imagine anyone in Detroit ever buying a non-GM, or at least non-domestic car (matter of personal pride, probably).

      2. The NFL is a non-profit, government approved monopoly. Their stadiums are subsidized with tax money and they receive favorable tax status. They are nothing like McDonalds.

          1. No, I’m not wrong. Never quote a sports writer in legal matters. how about this from a lawyer:

            “the NFL is technically classified as a 501(c)6 organization. Here’s how the IRS describes 501(c)6 tax-exempt status:

            Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
            It’s obviously notable that only professional football leagues are included here, as opposed to all sporting leagues. The exemption for football stems from lobbying efforts by Pete Rozelle in the 1960s to earn an antitrust exemption for the merger of the NFL and AFL. The anti-trust and tax exemptions were cleverly attached to an uncontroversial 1966 bill to “suspend the investment credit and the allowance of accelerated depreciation in the case of certain real property.” The NFL-AFL merger language was included at the end of the bill that had nothing else to do with football.”

            The NFL is tax exempt and anti-trust exempt,


            1. the NFL is Tax Exempt…. NOT THE TEAMS……

              the INDIVIDUAL TEAMS are not tax exempt…. they generate more than 10 billion a year in tax revenue…

              “The teams are considered for-profit and pay regular taxes.”

              Did you not read the article you posted?

              the LEAGUE is Tax exempt… the TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE ARE NOT.

            2. NFL League = chambers of
              commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade in the eyes of the law.

              If a real estate board says you can’t sell a home in your underwear… while there is nothing illegal about walking around outside in your underwear..

            3. Chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade would not prohibit a brand of clothing because they have a marketing agreement with another brand.

              Saying underwear is not allowed by anyone, is very different from saying you can ware Fruit Of The Loom but not Hanes.

            4. “Chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade would not prohibit a brand of clothing because they have a marketing agreement with another brand.”

              Honestly I couldn’t think of something off the top of my head to use as an example, It was more of some outlandish item I could think of, not actually something they could do. Underwear, bad analogy.

              If a real estate board requires you to put that “R” symbol on your car when you show a home.. and you don’t..

              Here, much better answer:
              “Because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA (Player’s union).”

            5. Did you not read my comment? We were talking about the NFL, not the teams. The teams have nothing to do with this discussion. Nice red herring though.

              The NFL is a tax exempt non-profit. It also has anti-trust exemptions. If a player does not want to play for the NFL team that drafted him he can’t play for any other team unless the drafting team releases him. That’s a monopoly. I don’t care that the USSC says the NFL does not fit the legal definition of a monopoly. That’s a different question than whether they fit the general definition of a monopoly. The NFL is a virtual monopoly.

              mo•nop•o•ly (mə-nŏpˈə-lē)►
              n. Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: “Monopoly frequently … arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals” ( Milton Friedman).

              A new player to the league does not go to the highest bidder. He goes to the team who drafted him. The NFL requires other teams to refuse to bargain with a player who won’t play for the team that drafted him. That’s controlling the selling of a service. It’s a monopoly. And that is allowed by their anti-trust exemption.

              Of course you can argue that the player could go to another league and make $10K a year, but that’s not really a viable argument. No reasonable person is going to do that. So yes, it’s a monopoly.

              The NFL also tries to control the personal endorsements of the member teams’ players through league wide sponsorships. That’s control of a service or commodity. Yes, that’s a monopoly.

              Do you get it yet?

            6. You’ve been proven wrong by the supreme court.

              in *your* mind you have decided they are a monopoly, and thats all you care about.


              NFL, the league itself runs like a Cartel… UNLIKE MLB….


              “Second, professional sports leagues enjoy a number of exemptions. Mergers and joint agreements of professional football, hockey, baseball, and basketball leagues are exempt.[22] Major League Baseball was held to be broadly exempt from antitrust law in Federal Baseball Club v. National League.[23] Holmes J held that the baseball league’s organization meant that there was no commerce between the states taking place, even though teams travelled across state lines to put on the games. That travel was merely incidental to a business which took place in each state. It was subsequently held in 1952 in Toolson v. New York Yankees,[24] and then again in 1972 Flood v. Kuhn,[25] that the baseball league’s exemption was an “aberration”. However Congress had accepted it, and favoured it, so retroactively overruling the exemption was no longer a matter for the courts, but the legislature. In United States v. International Boxing Club of New York,[26] it was held that, unlike baseball, boxing was not exempt, and in Radovich v. National Football League (NFL),[27] professional football is generally subject to antitrust laws. As a result of the AFL-NFL merger, the National Football League was also given exemptions in exchange for certain conditions, such as not directly competing with college or high school football.[28] However, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in American Needle Inc. v. NFL characterised the NFL as a “cartel” of 32 independent businesses subject to antitrust law, not a single entity.”

              Supreme Court, makes your argument invalid.
              Go bash MLB, you’d be correct there.

  4. This is too funny. If a player is shown wearing Beats ( or any other not Bose) headset in every game, it costs $160K for the season. When they are getting endorsement money, how is that a deterrence? And they never have to wear a Bose headset. Looks like Bose are the headsets for old fools and lawyers. That ought to build sales.

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