NFL Bans Beats

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined $10,000 for wearing Beats headphones to a press conference.

Photo: AP Photo / Tim Sharp
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt warms up before an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 5. Watt is wearing pink Beats headphones in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Beats headphones have since been banned by the NFL.

Kaepernick, QB for the San Francisco 49ers, is the star of a television commercial for Beats. He is seen wearing the noise-canceling headphones as he walks through a throng of boisterous fans of an opposing team.

But when it comes to wearing them in real life, Kaepernick needs to be careful. The NFL recently signed a deal to make Bose the official headphones of the league. That means players cannot be seen with Beats at press conferences, in the locker room or during post-game interviews. Kaepernick wore his Beats by Dre after the 49ers played the Kansas City Chiefs Oct. 5. They were pink in homage to Breast Cancer Awareness but were still unofficial headphones.

It is not known if Beats helped pay Kaepernick’s fine. He said he was “going to let that be unanswered.”

“Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual,” a Beats representative said. “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.”

During the recent World Cup tournament, FIFA told all 32 competing countries that Beats products were banned and only Sony headphones could be used.

Beats has 61 percent of the premium headphone market in the U.S., according to researcher the NPD Group. Bose has 22 percent and Sony has 2 percent.

During the 2012 Olympics in London, Beats sent thousands of free headphones to athletes including the U.S. basketball team and the entire British delegation, outsmarting official sponsor Panasonic.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Bose Corp. and Beats Electronics have agreed to dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Bose. Beats was recently acquired by Apple.