**UPDATED WITH NFL’S RESPONSE**
National sponsors may not have deserted the NFL, but one company issued the strongest statement yet about the league’s recent series of issues with domestic violence and child abuse.
“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” the company, which is owned by InBev, said in a statement (via ESPN). “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”
So far, NFL sponsors, like Marriott, Pepsi and FedEx, have said only that they are monitoring the situation when confronted by angry fans threatening to boycott their products. CoverGirl’s line of NFL products for women was the subject of a Photoshopped image of a female Ravens fan with a black eye that, with the message #GoodellMustGo, swept social media.
On a regional level, Nike, which has a $1.1 billion apparel deal with the NFL,
in the Twin Cities on Tuesday (although the gear is on sale online). And Radisson pulled its sponsorship of the Vikings after a press conference in which the team’s general manager, Rick Spielman, explained why Peterson would remain on the active roster in spite of his arrest on a charge of physically abusing his 4-year-old son. Ever since the NFL’s problems began with the posting Sept. 8 of video of Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancee, it has been clear that financial implications would be the driving force in whether teams were allowed to keep players like Rice and Adrian Peterson, who was arrested for child abuse, on their active rosters. So far, the sponsors’ money continues to flow. But Anheuser-Busch and Nike have sent a powerful message to the league.
The NFL’s response to the Anheuser-Busch statement: