Did Sean Payton purposely run afoul of NFL sponsor rules during draft?
If there’s one thing the NFL will not tolerate is any deviation from a strict adherence to its stated protocols, policies and procedures. New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton not only crossed a line during Thursday night’s first-round coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft when it comes to one league policy, he appeared to blatantly stomp all over it.
With the league putting on an unprecedented all-virtual draft, coaches, general managers, scouts, etc. had to figure out a way to work together remotely while holed up on their homes. While most of those people were unseen during televised coverage of the draft, the activities of big hitters like coaches, GMs and draft picks were showcased during the telecast.
Payton was comfortably set up in his own improvised war room, and it’s what the remote camera picked up that is bound to flummox NFL brass.
The league sent out a memo to teams — and apparently potential draftees as well — that spelled out a policy that prohibited any appearance of brands, products and the like that conflicted with the NFL’s official sponsors.
Payton appeared to almost purposely violate that rule, as evidenced by a screengrab shared on Twitter by Darren Rovell of Action Network.
The NFL sent a memo to draftees to tell them that anything on camera should be NFL sponsors.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 24, 2020
Biggest violator? Sean Payton.
Crush is made by Keurig Dr. Pepper, competitor of sponsor Pepsi.
Coke is a competitor of sponsor Pepsi.
Twizzlers is made by Hershey. Sponsor is Mars. pic.twitter.com/e2Oz5jc37g
Whether or not Payton deliberately ignored league protocol of course is anyone’s guess, but the Saints head coach does have a reputation of being something of a maverick or rebel when it comes to such things.
What’s more, it will be interesting to see if any evidence surfaces that proves others also ran afoul of the sponsor policies.
Either way, odds are certain Payton will be hearing something from the league about violating the policy. Whether or not he is punished for his transgressions to some extent or another remains to be seen.