Sportress of Blogitude

Colin Kaepernick fined $10K for Beats By Dre headphones, QB gets snarky on Twitter


Colin Kaepernick told reporters on Thursday that the NFL has fined him $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones on Sunday following the San Francisco 49ers’ 22-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The fine was in general terms for Kaepernick wearing unlicensed gear, but specifically it was due to the perceived conflict of interest — from the league’s perspective — of the quarterback wearing the Beats by Dre audio gear when the NFL has an exclusive arrangement with Bose.

re/code breaks down how the policy will affect individual players, specifically someone like Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal of his own with Beats by Dre:

The professional athlete still can hear whatever he wants, but Kaepernick and other NFL players must remove their Beats headphones around the television cameras.

Bose secured a league sponsorship deal that effectively allows it to elbow Beats — and any other rival headphone manufacturer — off the playing field.

Under terms of its agreement with the league, the NFL confirmed, Bose received a broad set of rights that entitle it to prevent players (or coaches) from wearing any other manufacturer’s headphones during televised interviews.

This ban extends to TV interviews conducted during pre-season training camps or practice sessions and on game day — starting before the opening kickoff through the final whistle to post-game interviews conducted in the locker room or on the podium. The restriction remains in place until 90 minutes after the play has ended.

Kaepernick donning a set of “Beats by Dre” for his postgame press conference was clearly in violation of the NFL’s arguably draconian, but legitimate, policy.

The 49ers quarterback’s relationship with the company has dramatically increased the exposure of the Beats by Dre brand, through the popular “Hear What You Want” commercials, as well as how Kaepernick frequently is spotted with a pair of the brand’s headphones draped around his neck.

When asked Thursday by reporters if “Beats by Dre” will pay the $10,000 fine, Kaepernick didn’t bite, saying, “We’ll let that be unanswered,” according to a San Jose Mercury News report.

Kaepernick did, though, show off his snarky side later Thursday, when he took to Instagram to sarcastically comment upon the fine by posting a screenshot of a report about the $10,000 penalty (below), along with a caption referencing how he was wearing pink headphones, “I support breast cancer awareness! My grandma is a survivor!……. *shrugs* some things are now important!”


Perhaps tempting fate and overtly forcing the NFL’s hand, Kaepernick also posted the following photo to Instagram of a tweet from Beats by Dre following Sunday’s win and after the NFL’s announcement of the policy..




View on Instagram

It certainly appears that Kaepernick won’t simply roll over without making some noise over his beloved Beats by Dre headphones. He’s presumably very well compensated for donning the audio gear, and as alluded to above, chances are Beats by Dre are loving the publicity and are likely more than happy with paying any fines associated with Kaepernick continuing to rock their gear.

Kaepernick has at least one NFL colleague backing his “sonic” disobedience. St. Louis Rams defensive lineman Chris Long took to Twitter to bemoan the amount of money Kaepernick was fined compared to how Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas was fined $8,268 — $1,800 less — for a chop block on Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell that left the player with a sprained MCL.


(top image via Paul Gutierrez/Twitter)