The NFL fined San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for wearing Beats by Dre headphones at a news conference following the Niner’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL’s new Bose sponsorship is exclusive and therefore the NFL has banned any other headphone brand to appear in or around NFL activity.
While it may seem audacious, the NFL should prevent players from wearing, eating, drinking, playing or performing in or around any NFL event that doesn’t include official sponsors. It may be their football, their rules, but the NFL is protecting their brand, players and sponsors.
Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Barry Church and other players were also spotted wearing their Beats by Dre’s this weekend around the stadium. These players are seemingly defying the NFL because they think it’s important to protect their individual sponsors. But, here’s what these players DON’T understand.
The NFL is protecting their sponsors, sponsors that make it feasible for Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick and other players to enjoy big contracts. If the NFL doesn’t protect Bose, they set the precedent for future sponsors. The value erodes when a property doesn’t protect their agreements. Players should not only be fined, but suspended without pay for defying sponsor agreements. It sounds harsh, but as old trekies would site, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
The same rule applies whether you’re running a professional football league or a local little league. Whether a festival or event producer, you have an obligation to protect your sponsor because in reality, you’re protecting your event too. You’re assuring and protecting the integrity of your sponsorship program and the reputation of your organization within the sponsorship world.
If you have a rogue vendor that decides to bring their own water to sell rather than use the official water of you’re event, you need to lose that vendor. Believe me, the lost vendor fee is not worth losing the integrity of your sponsorship program. After all, it’s your football, your rules and your reputation.