The NFL’s incompetent and potentially crooked handling of both the Ray Rice and Adrien Peterson scandals this past week has drawn wide criticism from fans and pundits—and now sponsors, too. Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch lambasted the NFL yesterday by releasing this 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.”

It’s an admirably strong stance, especially in light of the fact that other sponsors have generally tried to sidestep this dirty PR puddle, according to Mashable.

FedEx and Verizon have both been softly supportive of the league, with FedEx saying it values the relationship and Verizon expressing satisfaction with the actions the NFL has taken so far. But the language is so lukewarm that one senses they’re simply waiting to see which way the storm’s going to blow.

Of course, to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In other tweets, the Houston Texans player points out that there have been plenty of domestic violence cases in the NFL’s history, about which Anheuser-Busch remained quiet. To be suddenly incensed on the back of public opinion appears somewhat self-serving, and reminiscent of the ass covering practiced by FedEx and Verizon.

Foster isn’t wrong to question the nobility of Anheuser-Busch’s motivations. But sponsors (like celebrities) can and should turn their public endorsement into public chastisement when necessary, because they have large audiences who listen when they talk. And the people who write the checks are well positioned to exert pressure on the NFL to clean up their act. If they’re doing it primarily to protect their bottom-line, but it has the desired effect, that’s better than remaining silent. And it’s a hell of a lot better than a tasteless attempt to make money off a child-abuse scandal, like this Minnesota restaurant promotion.


Photo: Grubstreet

[via Mashable]