Athletes Talk Back On TV -- With A Point

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks is a good businessman, smart athlete -- and now a good social comedian.

He gets paid for endorsing Campbell’s Soup and Beats by Dr. Dre. But NFL policy states that players are not allowed to show or use items with non-NFL sponsor logos for 90 minutes before or after games.

The NFL also imposes major fines if players don’t make themselves available to talk to the press. Sherman’s teammate Marshawn Lynch, a notoriously poor interviewee, sometimes doesn’t oblige. Recently, the NFL fined Lynch $100,000 for refusing to talk to the press. And that got Sherman thinking.

In doing a mock interview with the press -- with another player, Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks, hiding behind a full size cut-out of himself --  Sherman pointed out some hypocrisy. The league doesn't want players to endorse certain products like alcohol -- but the NFL makes deals with major beer companies.  Sherman and Baldwin also noted the hypocrisy of the NFL supposedly worrying about players safety -- but then scheduling teams to play two games in five days.



Maybe in the next round of negotiations between the NFL players union and the league, there may be more-specific contract points about talking to the media -- who, when, where and for how long.

Touting the sport and league you play for seems like no big deal. NFL players, among all professional athletes, even go as far as to tout specific TV networks -- such as ESPN does with its “This is SportsCenter” promos and other marketing efforts.

The point is, professional athletes have become what marketing pros would now call “influencers” -- ambassadors of good will. So should athletes also get paid for this as well?

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