“No Coke, Pepsi” will be the motto for the NFL’s 58 on-air draft prospects

Getty Images

The motto for draft night will be “no Coke, Pepsi,” because the NFL wants incoming players who will provide free content during the draft to not infringe on the league’s paid partnerships.

Via Darren Rovell of TheActionNetwork.com, the 58 players who have been invited to participate in the stay-at-home draft have been told that they should not have in their homes (or more specifically in the range of the always-on camera) any products made by a company other than a company that gives the NFL money.

Do NOT have any products displaying brands or logos that have not been approved by the NFL within camera range of your feed for the NFL Draft broadcast,” a memo to the players and their marketing representatives explains, via Rovell.

To help prevent that from occurring, the players who will be taking part in the televised proceedings with no appearance fee (because, after all, it’s an honor and a privilege to have NFL teams call dibs on the most talented young football players in the country, regardless of where those players would choose to live and work) will receive a “welcome kit” that includes PepsiCo products, Frito-Lay snacks, and Mars candy.

The players also have been told to watch what they wear. There can be no logos or brands other than NFL teams or league partners (Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour, New Era). Also, per Rovell, clothing is “expected to be clean, free of liberal or hate speech, and cannot make a political statement,” with no “[r]eferences to alcohol, drugs or gambling (including poker).” (Those quotes are from Rovell’s article, not the memo.)

A similar message was sent last year by ESPN (and presumably by NFL Network), in apparent reaction to a Sasquatch cameo at a player’s draft party, in an effort to wrangle free advertising for non-NFL partner Jack Link’s Beef Jerky.

While the league has every right to refuse to televise images that would anger its partners (like, for example, NFL Network analysts and reporters wearing Apple AirPods despite the league’s Bose partnership, which definitely happened until Bose put a stop to it), the players have rights, too. They can refuse to participate in any way, shape, or form without an appearance fee.

And they should. After multiple years of playing college football for free and being prevented from getting paid for their efforts, abilities, and sacrifices (or their names, images, and likenesses), there’s nothing wrong with recognizing the value they bring to the draft broadcast (especially this year) and ask for fair compensation — especially if they’re going to be holding a Pepsi or wearing a Nike polo shirt or eating Cheetos or throwing Skittles in the air like confetti when they find out which of 32 independent businesses have squatted on the exclusive rights to employ each of them for the next five years.

72 responses to ““No Coke, Pepsi” will be the motto for the NFL’s 58 on-air draft prospects

  1. It is in the players best interests to listen to their future bosses, and also to promote products that pay huge sums of money, in order for them to also make huge sums of money. It’s not too difficult to agree to drink and eat the free products that are paying millions upon millions to the NFL.

  2. Advertisement & Big $$$ Money has taken a lot of the fun out of sports !!!
    It’s really sad for the kids coming up who just want to play and be recognized !!!

  3. As a follow up, there is no rights being infringed upon. These unemployed people could easily say “no thanks”, or demand an appearance fee. And their possible employers could easily say “no thanks”, and not draft or pay them. They are not playing for free, so the college analogy is moot.

  4. Ya I would totally get in trouble if I were one of the top prospects.

    Diet Coke only for me, Diet Pepsi is garbage.

    I’d host a simulcast live stream sponsored by Coke.

  5. “…the players have rights, too. They can refuse to participate in any way, shape, or form without an appearance fee.”

    I agree with this, and Pepsi sucks, so you figure the NFL would take their money. Coke is the real thing.

  6. These FUTURE players have absolutely 0 obligation to the NFL owners. Especially since they won’t even be under contract until much later. It’s been clear that owners will do anything they can to grab every measly penny. Players shouldn’t give a damn what the NFL wants them to do and do what’s in their own best interest. Gotta look out for #1.

    Besides, wouldn’t it be fun just watching a top draft pick wearing some bunk Kirkland branded athletic shirt right in the face of the NFL execs?

  7. Why don’t they give us a break and not have the camera’s in the homes at all. Worst part of each draft is the Green Room.

  8. A smart agent tells his client it’s an audition…playball…do what the league wants…I’ll get you your endorsement money down the road…

    When your chosen profession is professional sports, for the duration of your 1st contract you lose the right to choose where you live and work.

  9. First off they’re not employees yet. The NFL is making money on the draft and televising these kids.
    Pay them to use their images then they can make demands.

  10. It would be interesting if Joe Burrow for instance told the league “I have an endorsement with Coke and I’m goin going to be wearing a Coke t-shirt,’ whether or not the league would capitulate in order to have coverage. Or would they just try to digitally blur the image.

  11. could the players be free or within their rights to have their draft party sponsored by a non-NFL aligned company? like Chase Young or Joe Burrow reach out to have their draft party sponsored by Pepsi or Apple or whomever? if the NFL can seem to try to make a profit or push the products that are “official NFL sponsors” why can’t they do the same for themselves?

  12. It would be great if the NFL asked these draft prospects to participate . They could arrange to pay them a fee that could then be donated to COVID 19 relief efforts

  13. madguy7 says:
    April 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm
    Why don’t they give us a break and not have the camera’s in the homes at all. Worst part of each draft is the Green Room.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    To me, the worst part is the cameras in the player’s home. These requirements make it worse and now it appears that the home invasions will become the main part of the broadcast. No thanks. I’ll just get the list when the round is over.

  14. Are these guys getting paid to appear? If the answer is yes then the NFL can put some stipulations on them. But if the answer is no and these guys are freely opening up their home to these NFL film crews then it’s absurd for the NFL to try to dictate anything to them.

  15. These players are free to turn down the request to appear on camera if they don’t like the conditions. They’re doing this because they want to. This is a huge day for each of them and I’m sure they want to participate as much as possible.

  16. I mean, I’m fine with them just announcing the picks and doing each round in an hour, but I must be in the minority since the NFL always does what the fans want.

    wait

  17. The COVID Kid says:
    April 15, 2020 at 5:58 pm
    I didn’t get paid in college and I have yet to be paid for a job interview.
    —————————————————————————-

    And how much money did these employers make off you while you where in college
    or interviewing? I’ll answer. They made zero and paid you zero, The NFL makes millions and pays them zero. See the difference?

  18. Reminder: college football players do not play “for free”. They are not given direct paychecks, but playing earns them expensive scholarships, access to top notch physical development and football technique development, and most valuable of all unique access to networking opportunities that can set up lifetime career opportunities in or outside of football. It’s a massive package of compensation that only biased, pro-player people can pretend doesn’t exist.

  19. Doesn’t matter – the whole event is going to get hacked and replaced with videos of cats playing a piano (or worse).

  20. This is short-sighted, but that’s what happens when you have you (the NFL) have to bow to corporate masters. Imagine if, just for example, Chase Young is eating Arby’s during his draft. That’s an instant window into future opportunities for advertising with the NFL, Young, & Arby’s (win for all).

  21. Yeah…like that’s gonna work.

    You just know that there will be many screw-up. Whether they are intentional will be decided later.

  22. If there isn’t going to be football, why even have a draft? With no football, what is going to determine the salary cap if football ever is allowed to be played again? If teams make zero dollars over the next year, what percentage of that do players get? Serious question. What is the league saying about that?

  23. “Are these guys getting paid to appear? If the answer is yes then the NFL can put some stipulations on them. But if the answer is no and these guys are freely opening up their home to these NFL film crews then it’s absurd for the NFL to try to dictate anything to them.”

    You must not be familiar with Roger Goodell.

  24. Yeah, I’d tell them if me or my family can’t drink what we want, then don’t put a camera in my house. What’s the player getting out of it? It’s not going to affect their first contract, so who cares?

  25. Most people already cringed during the 1-2 minute interviews after a player is drafted …. add in the awkward delay for the interview questions & answers and it’s going to become Michael Scott levels of cringe, regardless of what products are seen on camera

  26. A lot of these kids came from homes that struggled financially. Really enduring hard times. The moment their name is called, they become instant millionaires, and it’s the greatest day in the life of many of the player’s families. I think they’ll be more than willing to get with the program. Are you serious?!!! And I love the No Coke, Pepsi thing. Nice.

  27. It will never happen, but it would be interesting if all the players, (who, after all, were denied the right to receive revenue from their own likenesses in college) suddenly banded together and determined (with 24 hours to go before the draft) that they would not appear on camera for the draft unless they were paid.

  28. I mean, I’m fine with them just announcing the picks and doing each round in an hour, but I must be in the minority since the NFL always does what the fans want.

    wait

  29. streetyson says:
    April 15, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    Is some Dr Pepper ok? What’s the worst that can happen?

    ————-

    Dr Pepper, so misunderstood…

  30. The story says that 58 players were INVITED to participate. I would assume that they don’t have to accept the invitation if they have a problem with the requirements. If Chase Young, or Joe Burrow decide they don’t want to abide by those rules and tell the NFL no, is it going to keep them from getting drafted? No. So they do not have to have the cameras in their house if they don’t like the rules.

  31. Whatever with partnerships, but no matter how much money they spend, Coke will always be a million times better than Pepsi!

  32. Drinking Coke or Pepsi and eating those candy bars is a good way to get cut from an NFL training camp. These unhealthy brands NEED to advertise with the NFL in order to convince anyone to consume them instead of juice, sports drinks, fruits & vegetables – you know, the kind of snacks that help you run fast, lift weights, make TDs and tackles & get drafted by the NFL in the first place.

  33. Seems like Coke is getting the added promotion just from the media write ups and us talking about it

  34. Love hearing the millennials in here talk about defying authority. Is it that much to ask of a potential millionaire to act and speak appropriately during what is basically a job interview? Wise up & wear the Kaepernick or other anti-establishment apparel later.

  35. If these 58 players were in Las Vegas for the draft, would the NFL have paid for their transportation, hotel accommodations, and food? If so, they each should be offered similar compensation this year. Give each player the average of what it cost last year to bring a player to Nashville. Problem solved.

  36. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    April 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm
    So much for personal freedoms and liberty.
    ==================
    I totally agree. Imagine the temerity of the NFL. Forcing their way into these homes, invading the privacy of young men and their families, expecting these people to let the world see their joy and excitement when they get hired for a job that will likely make all of them wealthy and many of them instant multi-millionaires. In the America I grew up in, people had the freedom and liberty to just say no.

  37. If I was going to be drafted, I’d not hold any non NFL approved items.
    Instead I’d have my Grandma drinking a beer ( Stone or Lagunitas IPA for example), and have my mother wearing some shirt from a non-NFL approved brand.
    My dad would have a not-allowed brand of Soda, and my brothers and sisters would hold contraband too,

    After I was drafted I’d give them a fake public scolding
    “My family has dishonored the NFL,a nd I am ashamed of them. I will never talk to my mother again.
    Ever.
    Hey maa!
    Maa!
    Where are my sneakers?”

  38. Kolo Jezdec says:
    April 16, 2020 at 7:50 am
    I totally agree. Imagine the temerity of the NFL. Forcing their way into these homes, invading the privacy of young men and their families, expecting these people to let the world see their joy and excitement when they get hired for a job that will likely make all of them wealthy and many of them instant multi-millionaires. In the America I grew up in, people had the freedom and liberty to just say no.
    =============================
    Maybe I am missing something, but when did the NFL tell them they cant say no? These players absolutely have the right to say no. But they said yes. Just like the players that go to the draft in person. The NFL invites a list of players, and in past years, gasp, some of them actually said no and didnt go. Same thing here. The NFL invites them to “attend” virtually. The player either agrees to “attend” virtually, and follows the rules the sponsors have asked the NFL to uphold, or the players says no and dont participate. Its pretty simple. By agreeing to be on the broadcast, you are agreeing to the parameters the league has put in place. But where has the NFL mandated, and dictated to these players that they cant say no???? They all voluntarily said yes.

  39. People getting into an uproar about everything these days. Look at it this way, I will use a scenario that everyone can relate to.

    You are trying to use a website, or an app, or something, and before you can continue, you have to put that check mark in the box agreeing to the terms and conditions. These players agreed to the terms and conditions when they decided to participate in the draft. They didnt have to agree to participate, but by saying yes to participate they said yes to the terms. These are the terms and conditions they accepted. What is the problem? Do you people REALLY think this is that much to ask of the draft picks???? Seriously?

  40. Han Brolo says:
    April 16, 2020 at 8:34 am
    Kolo Jezdec says:
    April 16, 2020 at 7:50 am
    I totally agree. Imagine the temerity of the NFL. Forcing their way into these homes, invading the privacy of young men and their families, expecting these people to let the world see their joy and excitement when they get hired for a job that will likely make all of them wealthy and many of them instant multi-millionaires. In the America I grew up in, people had the freedom and liberty to just say no.
    =============================
    Maybe I am missing something, but when did the NFL tell them they cant say no? These players absolutely have the right to say no. But they said yes. Just like the players that go to the draft in person. The NFL invites a list of players, and in past years, gasp, some of them actually said no and didnt go. Same thing here. The NFL invites them to “attend” virtually. The player either agrees to “attend” virtually, and follows the rules the sponsors have asked the NFL to uphold, or the players says no and dont participate. Its pretty simple. By agreeing to be on the broadcast, you are agreeing to the parameters the league has put in place. But where has the NFL mandated, and dictated to these players that they cant say no???? They all voluntarily said yes.
    ================
    Sorry, I thought it was obvious I was being facetious, perhaps even sarcastic…

  41. Kolo, apologies, I misread your post. Your last sentence through me off from what I originally thought you were saying (sarcastically). Well played. I’ll take a lap in shame

  42. The most important point here should be that the draftees aren’t in the league yet nor have they signed an NFL players contract. So freedom of speech, they should have any product they want at their house. The players are providing free content, they aren’t paid. So in my opinion they aren’t employees just yet. So have a Coke and a smile.

  43. akira1971 says:
    April 15, 2020 at 5:51 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview, your comment will be visible after it has been approved.

    “the players who will be taking part in the televised proceedings with no appearance fee”
    ———————-

    The NFLPA gets 48% of ALL league revenue, which INCLUDES sponsorships and tv contracts.

    Appearance fee is NONSENSE – the NFL is trying to HYPE UP the player and make him a household name. Only an short-sighted millennial would refuse that opportunity to get his name and face out there.

  44. As an aside, am I the only one thinking these at home spots are going to be a dud? They’ve had these sorts of things before and they’re always the same: It’s loud and you can’t hear half of what the guy is saying and you get nothing out of it beyond seeing his friends and family are happy he is being drafted. (Duh.)

  45. These guys all have the option to choose where they live and work. But they’ll make nowhere near the money they would working for the NFL.

  46. Get the players fat and out of shape before they sign with all the Pepsi, Lays, and Snickers they want.

  47. 19dead2 says: “So freedom of speech, they should have any product they want at their house. The players are providing free content, they aren’t paid.”
    ————————–

    So much wrong….

    2. Sponsors pays the NFL millions for exclusivity of product placement. Take away exclusivity and it’s worth a lot less – which means all players LOSE money with lower salary cap as that’s based on all league revenue.

  48. 19dead2 says: “So freedom of speech, they should have any product they want at their house. The players are providing free content, they aren’t paid.”
    ————————–

    So much wrong….

    3. The NFL is trying to promote THE PLAYER and make him recognizable and famous, so he can EARN MORE ENDORSEMENTS. Having a player appear on draft night doesn’t draw in more fans to watch, but a 100% BENEFIT to the player. Guys not invited would be ecstatic to replace the ones demanding an “appearance fee”.

  49. darrenkod says:
    April 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm
    19dead2 says: “So freedom of speech, they should have any product they want at their house. The players are providing free content, they aren’t paid.”
    ————————–

    So much wrong….

    3. The NFL is trying to promote THE PLAYER and make him recognizable and famous, so he can EARN MORE ENDORSEMENTS. Having a player appear on draft night doesn’t draw in more fans to watch, but a 100% BENEFIT to the player. Guys not invited would be ecstatic to replace the ones demanding an “appearance fee”.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Do you really believe the NFL is trying to simply help these particular players earn endorsements? From watching him, granny and the girlfriend clap on the couch? No. They want those players to help the league “sell” the draft. The problem here isn’t the league or the players. The problem is the requirements of the advertisers and their belief that if a person in their own home, while not yet an NFL employee, happens to have a branded product within view then that somehow means that then NFL officially endorses that product over theirs. Nevermind the fact that the actual commercials endorse their products. The whole mindset is trivial

  50. Best part of this article was reminding me of that classic sketch with Belushi on SNL so many years ago, cheeburger, cheeburger, cheeps, no coke, pepsi. Made me smile and that’s hard to find these times.

  51. Heads up to Jerry Jones…I don’t think Johnny Walker is approved by the NFL. I would buy a pay per view to watch Jerry with a bottle of Johnny Walker and his cell phone.

  52. Chevy Buffalo Bills and Marlboro New England Patriots are my favorite teams. It’s coming, sooner than later thanks to this virus, folks

  53. What’s with the “liberal or hate speech” bit? Are they saying conservative slogans are hate speech? Jeez.

  54. This is a no brainer if you’re a 22 yo kid. Just go nuts with it. Spray those Coke cans everywhere. Roll around in a giant pile of Cheetos. Let it rain down M&Ms. Get your college buds in on it.
    And don’t forget to wear a toga.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.