Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch faces an undisclosed fine from the NFL for wearing a "Beast Mode" hat during Super Bowl XLIX Media Day on Jan. 27, per ESPN.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch could still be fined for attending Super Bowl XLIX Media Day after all.
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During his less-than-five-minute stint on the podium on Tuesday, Lynch told a horde of media members, "I'm just here so I won't get fined." However, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Darren Rovell reported on Jan. 28 that the NFL is currently reviewing if the "Beast Mode" hat Lynch wore during Super Bowl XLIX Media Day is permissible under league rules. Should the NFL deem that the brand is an unapproved one, the Seahawks star could "face a significant fine," per Schefter and Rovell.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy did not comment on the matter, per ESPN.
According to Schefter and Rovell, Lynch wore a different hat with the same "Beast Mode" logo during media availability on Jan. 28. Lynch's reponse to most of the press' inquiries was "You know why I'm here" before ending his five-minute session by saying,"Thank you, I appreciate it."
ESPN stresses the NFL does not allow players to wear brands that compete with its partners. This applies to on-field apparel and attire during postgame interviews including Super Bowl Media Day. An example of the NFL imposing a hefty fine on a player was when then-Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher wore a Vitaminwater hat during Super Bowl XLI Media Day eight years ago. The league's partnership with Pepsi resulted in Urlacher's $100,000 fine.
The NFL fined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for using Beats headphones during pregame warmups this past season. Beats is a competitor of league partner Bose. Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle fined former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon $5,000 for wearing an Adidas headband during a playoff game in 1985, per Kevin Patra of the NFL's official website.
Schefter and Rovell say the NFL does not like it when its players use league events to promote unapproved brands. News clips and social media helped advertise Lynch's "Beast Mode" hat in the last two days. The brand's official website reported the same hat Lynch wore, which sells for $33, has already been sold out. The hat does not compete with league sponsor. In fact, it is manufactured by New Era, the NFL's official hat.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson defended Lynch on Wednesday, per Schefter and Rovell:
"I just think that sometimes we focus on things that don't matter and don't make any difference. Marshawn is a great football player and a guy that puts his work in every day and is dedicated to the game of football and dedicated to his teammates. There are times I don't think he should be fined, especially to (the) extent that people are trying to fine him. That's just my honest opinion.
"The guy loves the game. Sometimes people try to take away from people the way they are. I don't think he should be fined, personally."
According to USA TODAY's Nancy Armour, the Seahawks claim Lynch is "uncomfortable" being the media's center of attention. The team says their prized running back feels like a "zoo animal" with a horde of media members swarming him, baiting him into saying something controversial.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told Armour that Lynch is just being himself. He also commended Lynch for being a great team player:
"He's trying to do the best job he can of being him, and maybe you don't feel that's what he should do, but that is what is going on. I understand that people would like to see him do different things. He's not comfortable with that, so that's what he's telling you. He's doing it exactly the way he knows how to do it best.
"He's an incredible team member. The environment just isn't one that you get to see him in the way you want to see him."
Armour stresses Carroll fails to mention Lynch's media duties as part of his contract. The Seahawks running back is also earning money from these media sessions.
I4U News will again bring you full coverage of the 2015 Super Bowl Ads. Super Bowl 2015 will take place on Feb. 1, 2015 in Arizona. The Super Bowl XLIX game will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. NBC is broadcasting Super Bowl 2015.