When Marshawn Lynch does his infamous crotch-grabbing celebration following a touchdown, the National Football League doesn't like it. But in the logic of the NFL, not liking an X-rated gesture doesn't mean you can't make some money of it.
The league reportedly fined the Seattle Seahawks running back $20,000 for the obscene gesture in his side's come-from-behind win over the Green Bay Packers in last week's NFC Championship Game. The punishment came after Lynch repeatedly failed to comply with the league's policy on the issue. He was even told that if he repeats the trick in the upcoming Super Bowl, the Seahawks will be hit with a 15-yard penalty.
All of this is fine because Lynch is definitely in the wrong here, and for once, the NFL is right for discouraging a high-profile athlete from making an obscene gesture on what will be the biggest sporting day of the year in North America. The only thing is that the NFL's high moral stance on the subject hasn't stopped it from putting for sale on its official website a collage that has the photo of Lynch's crotch-grabbing TS celebration.
It effectively means that the obscene gesture that cost Lynch 20 grand, made more $$$ for the cash-hungry league. After people took notice and raised objections, the controversial picture ($149.95 apiece) mysteriously went out of stock. Either people genuinely bought out all the copies or the NFL took it off, fearing a backlash. Considering the way Roger Goodell runs his shop, the former seems a more likely possibility.
So far, the NFL hasn't come forward with a clarification, but if it does, expect it to play the "unintentional mistake" card.
The NFL is by far the biggest money making machine in the world of sports with annual revenue of nearly $10 billion. Goodell's target is to triple that number in the next few years, and to achieve that, he and his pals will stoop to any level (see above), no matter how hypocritical.