Penalty on Cam Newton for illegal use of sponsor logo?

jjones@charlotteobserver.comSeptember 24, 2013 

Cam Newton has been committing an NFL equipment policy infraction for nearly his entire professional career.

So, too, have many other NFL players.

A article released Tuesday featured Newton’s infraction – wearing a small, black Under Armour visor clip on his helmet during games – with examples of photos taken from games in all three years of his NFL career.

According to the league rules, the clip is a violation of the NFL’s equipment policy

“No visible identification of a manufacturer’s name or logo on the exterior of a helmet or on any attachment to a helmet is permitted unless provided for under a commercial arrangement between the League and manufacturer,” reads Rule 5, Section 4, Article 2(a) of the NFL rulebook.

NFC communications director Randall Liu said in an email it is a violation “if the clips are not clear of all logos.” There was no indication if Newton or other players would face fines, which are normally announced on Fridays.

Nike has an apparel deal with the league through 2016 at a reported $1.1billion cost. Under Armour struck a deal that allows players to wear the brand’s gloves and cleats during games, and Under Armour is the official apparel supplier for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said the team was under the impression it was within the league rules because the logo was blacked out. A team source said the equipment staff uses the Under Armour clips because they’re easier to manage.

Newton is one of Under Armour’s biggest football clients, with the other being New England quarterback Tom Brady. Newton isn’t the only player on his team, or in the NFL, who has the Under Armour helmet clip.

Photographs from the Panthers-Giants game Sunday show no fewer than three other Panthers – DeAngelo Williams, Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson – wearing the black Under Armour clip.

Across the league, Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor and 49ers safety Eric Reed are among the players who have also worn the clip, according to Forbes.

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