RENTON, Wash. (AP) — With the help of a cardboard cutout, the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin took digs at the NFL during a news conference on Tuesday after the league issued a $100,000 fine to teammate Marshawn Lynch for not speaking to the media.
Sherman and Baldwin made mention of everything from the league’s sponsorship deals with major beer companies to their own personal endorsements that are not affiliated with the NFL, to the talk of player safety with the Seahawks about to play their second game in five days.
The point of their performance seemed to be that whatever they said — real or satirical — it would not be a violation of the league’s media policy on speaking with reporters.
“The other day Marshawn Lynch got fined $100,000. Did you know that, $100,000?” Sherman said. “And it’s like they wouldn’t have paid him $100,000 if he had talked. If he had spoken, Doug do you think they would have paid him $100,000?”
Baldwin responded, “No, they sure wouldn’t have.”
The duo spoke for about 2½ minutes ahead of Thursday’s NFC championships game rematch against San Francisco. Baldwin hid behind a cutout of himself, with Sherman standing to the side of the podium and taking the lead as the pair bantered.
Sherman took only one question, and after the pair referenced a number of personal sponsors — many of which are not NFL sponsors — walked off without speaking about the matchup with the 49ers. The pair prepped briefly and notified the companies they were going to mention ahead of time.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll told San Francisco reporters he had not seen the performance.
“It’s fun to use your time in the NFL to speak about something you care about, right? Right?” Sherman said in his back-and-forth with Baldwin. “Because then you don’t get fined $100,000. You don’t get fined at all for this. This is how they want us to talk, right? This is what they want us to do. They want us to advertise, right Doug?”
Their targets were wide ranging, including headphones, soup, clothing, sandwiches and juice. The cardboard cutout of Baldwin was actually an advertisement that’s also on display at Subway restaurants in the Seattle area.
Sherman immediately mentioned his endorsement deal with Beats by Dre. The league has an agreement with Bose.
The league has told players they cannot wear unauthorized equipment until 90 minutes after the completion of games. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined earlier this year for wearing Beats headphones during a postgame news conference.
“The league doesn’t let me say anything about them. Why is that?” Sherman asked.
Baldwin’s response: “I don’t know. Sounds kind of hypocritical to me.”
Sherman made note of Campbell’s Soup — another personal endorsement — and how it could be helpful with cold and flu season approaching.
“Speaking of health, how do you feel about the NFL making you play two games in five days?” Baldwin asked.
“I almost didn’t realize that because they’ve been talking about player safety so much,” Sherman responded. “It’s like two games in five days doesn’t seem like you care about player safety. It’s a little bit much for me.”