The Seattle Seahawks’ enigmatic but powerful running back may have ended up getting himself into trouble anyway leaing up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. The Marshawn Lynch Super Bowl Media Day circus lasted all of 4 minutes 51 seconds, just under the five-minute requirement. In fact, he may still face a fine for his Media Day behavior, but not for reasons he or fans might expect.
Lynch’s Super Bowl Media Day appearance was one of the most hotly discussed topics outside of the whole “Deflategate” scandal tied to the New England Patriots. Would Lynch even appear? If so, would he say anything? If not, would he really be fined the $500,000 that NFL sources had leaked was the number being tossed around league headquarters?
Lynch did appear, though his comments were essentially rehashed versions of the phrase “You know why I’m here,” a response to his phrase from his Tuesday appearance, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” According to ESPN, Lynch said that phrase, or some version of it, at least 14 times.
As it turns out, it’s not Lynch’s Super Bowl Media Day responses that may get him fined. It was his clothing, or more precisely, his hat.
Lynch’s hat seemed innocent enough: a black baseball cap with some sort of logo on it that almost nobody outside of his biggest friends, family or fans would recognize. Unfortunately, the NFL also recognized it — as the logo for his “Beast Mode” brand.
Has anyone ever even seen an item of clothing, hat or not, from the Beast Mode line? And even if this logo “placement” was designed to change all that, Lynch would still have to have distribution, sales, marketing and other elements in place to capitalize on it. One website had it listed for sale for $33 and promptly sold out, so some level of distribution was certainly in place. Walmart, Target and the big guys? Not so much.
No matter. The NFL has strict rules in place that players are not allowed to wear clothing or other items from brands that either conflict with NFL partners on the field or during post-game interviews. Since the Marshawn Lynch Super Bowl Media Day appearance was part of a game-related activity, it falls under those same rules. All players had to abide by that, not just Lynch.
Several players have been fined this season for wearing or showing unapproved brands during team or NFL activities. For instance, Colin Kaepernick was fined for wearing Beats by Dre headphones during a post-game interview, a direct conflict with the league’s sponsorship by Bose.
It’s happened at previous Super Bowls, too. During an appearance at the 2007 Super Bowl, Brian Urlacher wore a Vitaminwater hat at the podium while talking with reporters. Since the NFL had a relationship with Pepsi, which owns Gatorade, the league fined him $100,000.
Interestingly, Lynch may also now face a $100,000 fine for his Super Bowl Media Day appearance. The NFL has not yet confirmed whether that’s true, though both ESPN and the New York Daily News are both reporting the $100,000 figure.