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NFL: Captain Morgan Campaign Violates League Rules (PHOTO)

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Did anyone notice Philadelphia tight end Brent Celek's celebration after scoring a touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday night? The NFL sure did. After Celek caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter, he immediately struck the pose made famous by Captain Morgan commercials.

Captain Morgan offered to donate money to different charities, including the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a non-profit organization helping suffering retired NFL players, in exchange for players striking the "Captain Morgan pose" during NFL games. Celek's act almost went unnoticed, but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo! Sports that, "a company can't pay a player to somehow promote its product on the field." The NFL has banned the pose after learning of this campaign.

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The NFL has scuttled a guerrilla marketing campaign designed to get players to strike a pose resembling a liquor brand's advertising.

Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that the move stems from a touchdown celebration by Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek during Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

After catching an 11-yard pass from Donovan McNabb, Celek appeared to back up to align himself in front of television cameras. Putting his hands on his hips, Celek raised his right leg, mimicking a pose similar to the pirate on the label for Captain Morgan's rum.

Yahoo! Sports said the Captain Morgan pose was banned this week after the league learned of a wider campaign meant to get players to strike it during NFL games.

"The issue is that players are specifically prohibited under our policies from wearing, displaying, promoting or otherwise conveying their support of a commercially identified product during a game while they're on the field," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo! Sports. "Whether it's rum or soft drinks or any other commercial product, that type of promotion is prohibited."

The Eagles received a 15-yard penalty for demonstration after teammate Jason Avant tried to help Celek perfect his form.

Celek has denied intentionally striking the pose, but an account executive handling the promotion told Yahoo! Sports the tight end was involved.
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"The (ad campaign) has been going around internally for a while and (Celek) learned of the program through his contact at Diageo (Captain Morgan's parent company)," said Glenn Lehrman, an account director at Rogers & Cowan, the Los Angeles-based firm that handles Captain Morgan promotions. "Brent said, 'You know what, if I get the opportunity, I'm going to go ahead and do it.' He sort of beat us to the punch, but we're certainly not going to complain."

Lehrman said that each time a player was caught on camera in the pose Captain Morgan planned to donate to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a nonprofit that helps retired NFL players. The campaign was to be unveiled next week with donations of $10,000 during the regular season, $25,000 for the playoffs and $100,000 in the Super Bowl.

The NFL banned the plan when it learned of it this week, notifying Gridiron Greats and Captain Morgan that it won't allow the pose during NFL games.

The ad campaign appeared to be designed to capitalize on the attention recently given to the plight of retired players and the criticism the league has received for its handling of their struggles.

It's not the first time the league has taken a hard line against guerrilla marketing tactics.

The NFL fined Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher $100,000 for wearing a hat promoting vitamin water during media day before the 2007 Super Bowl.

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