We all know the NFL's a stickler about sponsorships, what logos you can see on your person in uniform, how your uniform ought to be worn, etc. Bengals WR Chad Johnson gets the most attention and the most fines for rocking the orange chin strap, the odd shoe colors, and the custom nameplates, etc. Coaches Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan had to accept Reebok as their tailor and designer before the NFL would permit them to go all Tom Landry on the sidelines.
Now, Bears LB Brian Urlacher has hit the fine board for a cool $100 Gs, and it's apparently all over a goddamned drink and a cap:
Urlacher was fined for drinking vitaminwater and wearing a vitaminwater hat during the media session in Miami leading to the title game. Gatorade is the NFL's official drink.
That's pretty damn harsh, and it's a first-of-its-kind fine in terms of it happening in the Super Bowl. Former Bear QB Jim McMahon got slapped with something similar back in the day. Reggie Bush got nailed for $10,000 when the league was able to see that he was rockin' his Adidas (Reebok logos only, people!)
The cap I kind of understand. But Urlacher couldn't even drink whatever he wanted to drink, he had to clear it with the league first? (Plus, the fact that it cost 100K because it was during Super Bowl week is mind-boggling.) Next thing you know someone will get fined for eating a Quarter Pounder at a press conference. (The last result I came up with for official fast food sponsor revealed that Burger King was the official fast food restaurant.)
Problem is, guys get fined a lot less than $100K for more problematic stuff. T.O. spitting on DeAngelo Hall got him $35K, and Tyler Brayton and Jerramy Stevens got $25K and $15K a piece for in-game scuffling (Brayton's extra 10 gr. was for a knee in the crotch; most people will tell you Stevens deserved it, especially Seahawks fans.)
Clearly, Roger Goodell is just as interested as protecting the millions in sponsorship rights that funnel in as he is the league's image, if not more.
(Update: Flubby at KSK has obtained a copy of Goodell's letter regarding the fine to Urlacher, with some examples of acceptable headgear.)