Above all else, the NFL is a business before it’s a sport. We hear players say that all the time when they’re either traded or cut: this is a business. Robert Griffin III is learning the hard way what happens when you go against the corporate grain, as the NFL has fined the rookie $10,000 for wearing Adidas apparel in a world licensed by Nike.
In his post game press conference after Week 14, RGIII was wearing an Adidas t-shirt and sweatsuit when he addressed the media. The NFL signed a licensing deal with Nike this offseason which gives the Pacific-Northwest company exclusive rights to NFL gear. This wasn’t a free deal, and Nike paid a hefty sum to replace Reebok as the official merchandiser of the most popular sport in America.
So it’s understandable that when someone shows up wearing the other guy’s stuff, you’re not going to be happy about it. It was the NFL’s policy to fine RGIII however, not Nike’s.
Robert Griffin III isn’t the first player to violate NFL dress code. Besides on-field incidents like Bernard Berrian’s yellow shoes, players have been fined in the past for not properly representing NFL sponsors. Brian Urlacher was fined $100,000 for wearing a VitaminWater hat to a 2007 Super Bowl press conference.
Is it nit-picky, of course it is. But again, here’s yet another reminder that above being a sport, the NFL is a business and you’d better get in line or go broke being a rebel.