Friday, November 13, 2009

Irony, Thy Name Is Diet Pepsi

In Week 9, Eagles' tight end Brent Celek scored a touchdown and promptly went into what looks a lot like the "Captain Morgan"-pose.  Celek denies that it was intentional, but unless this photo was taken as he was mid-way into a sumo-stomp, I can't really imagine what else he was doing. 

So the NFL of course is going to fine Celek for the stunt, if you'd call that mild display a stunt.  I say "of course" because they haven't announced the fine yet, but this is the same league that fined Chad Ochocinco $5,000 for wearing the wrong colored chinstrap.  So yeah, Celek is getting a fine.

In the NFL's defense though, they do have an official policy that such a display as Celek's is illegal.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello was quoted as saying, "The issue is that players are specifically prohibited under our policies from wearing, displaying, promoting or otherwise conveying their support of a commercially identified product during a game while they’re on the field."

And you can see how such a policy would be a good idea.  While I think fining Ochocinco that much for being "out of uniform" is a little exorbitant, they have to draw lines somewhere.  And players wearing "" stickers on their helmets might cross a few lines.  Overly invasive product advertising is annoying, so good for the NFL for curbing it.  Nevermind the brand logos on league-mandated uniform pieces like cleats, gloves, jerseys, helmets, pads, and pants.

The irony of the story comes in when you read the next part of Aiello's quote and look more closely at the above, offending photograph.  “Whether it’s rum or soft drinks or any other commercial product, that type of promotion is prohibited.”  And what's that in 3-storey letters hanging behind Celek inside the stadium?  A soft drink ad.  Aiello did not go on to say, "We will take money from anyone and everyone, and place ads anywhere and everywhere, just like any other league and team would do, but by God if our players do it, we will make the amount Mark Cuban gets fined each year look as insignificant as it is to Mark Cuban," but he may as well have.

And on purpose or not, fine or not, it looks like a nice chunk of change will be changing hands regardless.  It seems that Captain Morgan is reportedly donating $10,000 to the Gridiron Greats Assitance Fund (helping retired NFL players) for each instance in the regular season that a player is caught in the company's signature pose.  Then $25,000 for the playoffs, and $100,000 in the Super Bowl. 

So the NFL is just mad that they and whoever is airing the games will be missing out on ad revenue because Captain Morgan will be getting advertising without paying for commercials or stadium banners (which they do anyway).  The funny thing is that if the NFL hadn't made a stink about Celek doing this, no one would have noticed it, no one would have heard about the donation campaign, and Captain Morgan wouldn't have really gotten any free adverstising from it.

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