PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08: Brent Celek #87 and Jason Avant #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate after Celek scored on a 11-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys won 20-16. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Right leg up, hands on hips, and, with some help from teammate Jason Avant, Brent Celek had brought what they call "guerrilla advertising" to another level as he celebrated a third quarter touchdown last Sunday night against the Cowboys. A fifteen-yard demonstration penalty ensued and, a half week later, according to a report on Yahoo!Sports, a league motion to put a quick end to such commercially driven end zone celebrations.
Celek, according to the report, denied any previous knowledge of an advertising campaign set in motion by Captain Morgan, that, in effect, places a bounty on players who pull of the pose on camera during a game; the going rate for doing the captain: $10,000 for the regular season, $25,000 for playoffs, and $100,000 for the Super Bowl.
If this seems like an underhanded, sordid sort of corporate skulduggery, it's not; the money was set to go to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, which aims at helping retired players with various difficulties in their post-football life. This, of course, didn't stop the NFL from putting the clamps on such demonstrations.
"A company can’t pay a player to somehow promote it’s product on the field,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo! Sports. "Every league has the same rule. … It’s come up before, companies trying to use our games and then players for ambush marketing purposes."
The public relations firm that handles Captain Morgan promotions said that it did not intend to offend the NFL with the campaign, and that it will search for an alternative to the original idea that would benefit both the company and Gridiron Greats. However, they disagree with Celek's assertion that he had no previous knowledge of the promotion, which was supposed to go into motion next week.
“The [campaign] has been going around internally for a while and [Celek] learned of the program through his contact at Diageo [Captain Morgan’s parent company],” said Glenn Lehrman, an account director at Rogers & Cowan, the Los Angeles based firm that handles Captain Morgan promotions. “Brent said, ‘You know what, if I get the opportunity, I’m going to go ahead and do it.’ He sort of beat us to the punch, but we’re certainly not going to complain.”
An unnamed league source speaking to Yahoo! said that Celek will not be fined, but that similar transgressions in the future will result in a "significant penalty."
“The issue is that players are specifically prohibited under our policies from wearing, displaying, promoting or otherwise conveying their support of a commercially identified product during a game while they’re on the field,” Aiello said. “Whether it’s rum or soft drinks or any other commercial product, that type of promotion is prohibited.”
Since there is no such restrictions on sportswriters, that I know of, I would like to say that there is no better combination of smoothness and taste than that of Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum.
Now if anyone needs me, I'll be waiting on a check, and/or a significant amount of spiced liquor.