'Disappointed' Anheuser-Busch takes NFL to task over domestic violence
Sept 16 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch publicly chastised the National Football League on Tuesday for its handling of domestic violence cases, making the NFL's official beer sponsor the first major advertiser to put pressure on America's most popular...
Sept 16 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch publicly chastised the National Football League on Tuesday for its handling of domestic violence cases, making the NFL's official beer sponsor the first major advertiser to put pressure on America's most popular sports league.
In a brief but strongly worded statement, Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, said it was "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."
The company, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, said it had shared its concerns and expectations with the 32-team league, a TV ratings juggernaut that brings in $9 billion in annual revenue.
"We understand," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said of the Anheuser-Busch remarks. "We are taking action and there will be much more to come."
The rebuke could raise pressure on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, already struggling to make amends after his initial light punishment of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice for the February beating of his then-girlfriend, now his wife.
When a security video emerged last week of Rice punching his wife out cold, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely and said he had not seen the video when he handed down his original two-game ban in July.
Goodell has since increased the mandatory ban to six games for domestic violence and ordered an independent investigation into the handling of the Rice case.
But, as Anheuser Busch alluded to in its statement, the league is contending with several other cases of domestic abuse, including Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back who has been charged with child abuse in Texas for beating his son with a tree branch.
Peterson was reactivated by the Vikings on Monday after sitting out Sunday's game.
Two other players involved in domestic violence cases are also under the league's microscope, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers and Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers.
On Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton entered the fray by saying the Vikings should sideline Peterson until his case works its way through court.
The Radisson hotel chain said it was suspending a sponsorship deal with the Vikings as it monitors the case.
By Steve Ginsburg and Anjali Athavaley