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Beats' Jimmy Iovine on NFL headphone ban: 'I can't believe I'm this lucky'

Beats cofounder and current Apple executive Jimmy Iovine responded to the National Football League's decision to ban Beats by Dre headphones from interviews, suggesting the pressure from Bose is resulting in cheap publicity.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (left) was fined $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones during a post-game press conference. | Source: CSN Bay Area


Speaking at the University of California's Global Conversation on Wednesday, Iovine noted that NFL stars under contract with Beats, as well as those who prefer the headphones, have taken to taping over the company's logo to avoid monetary fines, reports Business Insider

"We didn't do anything, and now the players are going out and putting black tape on our logo," Iovine said. "It's like, I can't believe I'm this lucky. I feel like sending them the tape."

The NFL is enforcing a ban on all headphone products not made by Bose, who inked a deal in March to become the league's "official headphone." Last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined $10,000 for wearing a pair of pink Beats to a post-game press conference. It was later learned that the color choice was in support of breast cancer awareness month and his grandmother, who is a cancer survivor.

Iovine went on to say that Sony and Bose, both major competitors in the headphone industry, are out of touch with pop culture, which resulted in a windfall of free press for Beats.

"What happened there, you have a tech company that's culturally inept. There's no one at the company that said, 'If you ban these guys, you're going to look bad to the young people, and they're going to look like superheros even though they're just pure capitalists —well they're not pure capitalists, but they're real capitalists and [they] sold that company to Apple —but you're going to make them look like the underdog," Iovine said.

The NFL ban is nothing new to Beats, which has a number of pro athlete promoters on its roster, including LeBron James, Serena Williams and Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr.