Jan 28, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch with reporters during the Seattle Seahawks press conference at Arizona Grand. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing is official yet, but rumors are circulating that Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch could be facing another from the NFL. This time, it is for his choice in headwear on Super Bowl XLIX media day.
Lynch was wearing a custom “Beast Mode” hat. All apparel must be either official licensed NFL merchandise or completely without logos. Since Lynch’s hat doesn’t fit that description, he is subject to yet another fine from the NFL.
All of this is a bit ironic since Lynch showed up and answered every question with “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
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Despite the rumors, Lynch wore a similar hat for today’s media session as well. There was one noticeable change though. Today’s hat still had the New Era sticker on it.
The reason for the policy, and for the potential fine, is that New Era paid a pile of money for the rights to make all the official NFL hats. Part of their agreement with the NFL is that employees of the league aren’t to wear New Era competitor’s gear.
That makes this an interesting case for the NFL. Lynch is technically violating the league policy, but he’s not doing anything that New Era would have any trouble with. Lynch is still an advertisement for one of their products, even though it isn’t an officially licensed NFL product.
New Era is likely to step in on Lynch’s behalf in this case. Hopefully it’ll be enough for him to avoid another fine. I have a feeling that if this was the NBA, that would be the end of this.
On the other hand, the NFL league office has been going out of their way to try and make an example out of Lynch this week. They also want their cut on the sales of merchandise.
They may also see this as a loophole for players to market their lines of products, and won’t slew players looking to New Era or other NFL partners in an effort to circumvent this rule.
We’ll have to wait and see how the league responds. This will certainly be an interesting case to watch over the next few weeks.