A potential sea-change just occurred in the ongoing stories about out-of-control players in the National Football League.
These 49 words from Anheuser-Busch on Tuesday indicate that the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell are going to be pressured by sponsors to change their ways.
And if that doesn’t happen, the NFL could be in big trouble financially.
The league has built itself into a multibillion-dollar enterprise the old-fashioned way: with the help of America’s leading businesses. And Anheuser-Busch has been front-and-center along the way, with its ads for beer plastered all over the place.
But what happens if those sponsors find a backbone and tell the NFL it must take more seriously the actions of its players when they beat women and children, as Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, respectively, have been accused of doing?
From the Anheuser-Busch statement:
“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. 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.”
Granted, that doesn’t mean the tens of millions of dollars in beer sponsorship funds will stop flowing into the pockets of the NFL’s owners.
However, it’s a big-time indicator that the sponsors are hearing from Americans who are sick and tired of the way the NFL has coddled its players for too many years.
Here’s another indication:
On Monday, the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings because of Peterson’s indictment for child abuse.
The statement: “Radisson takes this matter very seriously, particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children. We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.”
It would be great to see other sponsors standing up for women and children, especially, the ones who too often are abused but forgotten by the NFL when it comes to meting out punishment to its players.