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It’s no secret that professional sports league sponsorships are a big deal. But one football player found out just how lucrative those contracts were when the league fined him $100,000 for wearing a hat featuring non-sponsor Glaceau Vitamin Water's logo during Super Bowl weekend. Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is an investor in the company, which competes with NFL sponsor Gatorade. Surely the fans will understand the serious financial ramifications of such an action and side with the league. Or maybe not. An article linked on Digg.com bore the headline: “NFL fines Brian Urlacher $100K for wearing a hat!”
This Chicago Sun-Times article provides some interesting info:
''I find it ridiculous,'' said Mike Repole, the president of Glaceau. ''Brian uses Vitamin Water because he feels it helps him perform at his best. He has an investor/sponsor relationship with us, and I find it funny the league is going after players who are not endorsing products the league has endorsement deals with.''
Asked if he planned to help out his investor with the fine -- which Urlacher can appeal -- Repole chuckled, likely with the knowledge that the NFL's action only can benefit his company in terms of publicity.
For comparison's sake, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon was fined $5,000 by commissioner Pete Rozelle for wearing an Adidas headband during a playoff game after the 1985 season. In the NFC Championship Game the next week, McMahon wore a headband with ''Rozelle'' on it.