NEW YORK — And the Beats go on.
Marcus Mariota, just hours after flaunting his Beats by Dre in one of the company’s YouTube videos, donned the trendy headphones again when he was picked No. 2 in the NFL draft Thursday night.
The quarterback got the news in his home state of Hawaii from the draft in Chicago. As a prospect, he was free to embrace Beats any way he pleases, but he better watch out now as a Tennessee Titan when he’s in front of cameras on game day. That’s a no-no under NFL policy.
On YouTube, to the new soulful acoustic song “River” by Leon Bridges, Mariota gazes at the ocean, runs on the beach and works out in his old high school gym in Honolulu with his white, wireless Powerbeats2 on his head. He fiddled with the Beats in his ears with a big smile on his face and leis piled high around his neck when he was chosen.
Beats, with a stable of athlete endorsers, had no comment Thursday.
The NFL protects its Bose contract closely. Players are permitted to have endorsement contracts with Beats and other companies that aren’t league sponsors, but the NFL has cracked down on players in the past for wearing the competition’s headphones.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Beats, said he was fined $10,000 by the NFL for wearing a pink pair for breast cancer awareness at a press conference in October. He covered the logo up with tape at a later appearance.
Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said the league’s restriction on public display of Beats or the items of other non-sponsors applies only to post-game interviews.
“Players are aware of the policy. It’s reiterated throughout the year, at the beginning of the season, and that’s nothing new,” he said.
Beats by Dre was acquired by Apple Inc. last year. A month later, the NFL reached the agreement with Bose to become the league’s official headphones.
Seizing the draft limelight, Beats ran Mariota’s video ahead of the action in a top-of-the-home-page banner advertisement — complete with shopping link — on espn.com.
Leanne Italie, The Associated Press