High end headphone manufacturer Bose has secured a deal with the National Football League in which it will be the sole headphone worn during official interviews and on screen appearances, according to Re/Code:
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.
Apple/Beats gave the following statement:
“Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual. Music can have a significant positive effect on an athlete’s focus and mental preparedness and has become as important to performance as any other piece of equipment.”
I’ll admit I think Bose products on the whole are better than their Beats counterparts, but just like the World Cup before it, it seems shady to make NFL athletes replace gear that gets them ready for games with another brand. It seems against sport.
What if Nike sponsored the NFL, could they force athletes to only wear Nike shoes? (Maybe they do, I don’t know).
Update: The NFL wrote in to clarify:
…wanted to make sure you were aware that NFL has longstanding policies that prohibit branded exposure on-field or during interviews unless authorized by the league. These policies date back to the early 1990s and continue today. They are the NFL’s policies – not one of the league’s sponsors, Bose in this case. Bose is not involved in the enforcement of our policies. This is true for others on-field.