When Eagles tight end Brent Celek caught a short touchdown pass early in the second half against the Cowboys, I noticed him pose in the back of the end zone for a moment. The Eagles were hit with a 15-yard demonstration penalty based on that fact that wide receiver Jason Avant came over to participate with Celek during his pose.
But what most of us didn't realize is that Celek was actually part of a "secret" marketing campaign by the folks from Captain Morgan. As first reported by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, the company known for its spiced rum was attempting to raise brand awareness and contribute to charity at the same time. For players willing to strike the Captain Morgan pose (a pirate with his leg up and a sword at his side), the company would earmark charitable contributions to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a non-profit group that assists former NFL players who are dealing with various post-career medical issues.
Once the NFL found out what happened, it moved quickly to end the campaign. And though we give the league a hard time for not allowing players to have fun, I understand its stance in this situation. If you allow Captain Morgan to get away with this campaign, you'd have all sorts of companies willing to offer players incentive to strike poses. The NFL chose not to fine Celek for his participation in the campaign. I reached Celek via text earlier this afternoon and he's what he had to say:
"First of all I apologize to the NFL and the Eagles organization. I didn't feel like it was going to blow up like this. It started out as a small charity deal for my wife, who works for Captain Morgan, and obviously it blew up bigger than that. Again, I'm sorry if it offended anyone, but it won't happen again."
Have a great weekend.