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NFL players thumb nose at Beats headphones ban

Ignoring the NFL's deal with Bose, some NFL players displayed their Beats proudly before games yesterday, despite the threat of fines. Where will this end?

The Seahawks' Richard Sherman is a committed Beats endorser. For him, presumably, Bose blows. Beats By Dre/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Tonight, many will watch the San Francisco 49ers play the St. Louis Rams and wonder whether Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick will shine.

Those fond of self-image and civil disobedience will, though, be focused on whether he wears his Beats headphones before and after the game.

Should you have been unaccountably held captive underground by militant voles, you might not know that the NFL has signed a deal with heaphone and speaker maker Bose. As part of the deal, NFL players aren't allowed to wear their Beats (or other rival headphones) within sight of cameras until 90 minutes after a game.

The image-meisters at Beats protested that this would affect players' very DNA. (This doesn't stand for Deadly Niner Accuracy. It stands for Darn Nice Apparel.) However, Kaepernick stood firm and wore his pink Beats last week, incurring a $10,000 fine.

Yesterday, the eyes of Deadspin were on the ears of all NFL players. The Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman and the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton were seen wearing Beats headphones in warm ups.

Even St. Thomas Brady of the New England Patriots was wearing something that didn't look like Bose. Almost comically, the Dallas Morning News spotted one Cowboys player had covered up the logo on his headphones.

It's alluringly twisted that the $10,000 fine for wearing Beats (first offense) is higher than the $8,268 fine for a first offender who kicks, strikes, knees or performs a late hit on an opponent. Second offenses escalate in cost.

My suspicion is that Beats is adoring the boost to its image and will pay any fines on behalf of the players. Attempts to secure comment from the NFL have been unsuccessful, but I have made contact again and will update, should I receive a reply.

Could it be that the fines will continue to escalate until they mean something?

Or might the NFL, to show its mighty commercial power and customary sensitivity, suspend a player for wearing pink Beats on his ears?