Chicago Bears standout linebacker Brian Urlacher arrived at Super Bowl XLI media day yesterday wearing a Vitaminwater hat. While Urlacher is sponsored by Vitaminwater, the Glaceau brand is not a league sponsor. Urlacher also had a bottle of Vitaminwater next to him on his podium. Within minutes, an NFL representative had a Bears official remove Urlacher's cap.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNBC that the league is reviewing the situation. Fines don't usually come in 24 hours, but Urlacher could be hit. Vitaminwater competes with Gatorade, which pays the league more than $45 million a year. Media day fines are much more exorbitant that normal fines. Five years ago, New England Patriots offensive lineman Mike Compton was threatened with a $100,000 fine -- five times the normal rate -- for blacking out the Reebok logo on his hat. Compton is a Nike endorser. Urlacher got a couple minutes of exposure for Vitaminwater. Before he took it off, the hat was snapped in a picture by ESPN.com's Bill Simmons that appeared on the site's front page.
Update: We have reviewed the video from the NFL Network. Urlacher is talking for a full three minutes with the Vitaminwater logo hat on. That's when Bears spokesman Scott Hagel comes over to Urlacher's right side and whispers something in Urlacher's ear. "OK, Scott," Urlacher says. "You guys having a fit?" Urlacher then takes off the hat. The bottle isn't removed until later.
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