During his five minutes of interrogation on Super Bowl Media Day, Marshawn Lynch responded to 29 questions by answering “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” 29 times. Little did Lynch know that he might get fined anyway. The NFL is going to review whether the hat that Lynch wore during the event, which sported his “BeastMode” logo, was permissible.
If the league rules — and it won’t rule until after the Super Bowl — that Lynch used media day to promote a brand not approved by the NFL, he could face a significant fine. League spokesman Brian McCarthy did not comment on the matter, according to ESPN. But the hat is manufactured by New Era, which is an official NFL sponsor.
The NFL has a rule that mandates that players not wear brands that conflict with league partners on the field during games or in postgame interviews. The rule also applies to Media Day.
According to ESPN, the NFL fined Chicago’s Brian Ulracher $100,000 for wearing a Vitaminwater hat on the podium during the 2007 Super Bowl. That apparently conflicted with the league’s contract with Pepsi, which also owns Gatorade.
In October, the NFL fined San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones around his neck after the league signed an exclusive agreement with Bose.
Lynch’s Beast Mode hat is listed for sale at $36 on beastmodeonline.com, “The Official Brand of Marshawn Lynch.” Lynch owns four trademarks to the phrase “Beast Mode” and has filed for three additional trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Lynch has been slapped with multiple fines over the past two seasons, including $100,000 for refusing to talk with the media. He was also hit with $20,000 and $11,050 fines for crotch grabs after scoring touchdowns this season. The NFL has placed the Seahawks and Lynch on notice that fines for similar infractions will increase significantly if Lynch repeats them during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Lynch’s non-answer answers fulfilled the player contract requirement for an appearance, but he didn’t answer questions. However, the Pro Football Writers Association has decided not file a complaint with the NFL.