(CBS SF) — The chorus of criticism of the National Football League over its handling of domestic violence and child abuse issues is spreading to the league’s corporate sponsors, such as Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s and Visa.
The Radisson hotel chain late Monday announced it was suspending its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings following the team’s decision to reinstate star running back Adrian Peterson after his indictment for alleged felony child abuse.READ MORE: Cal Fire Confirms Estrada Fire Sparked by Controlled Burn, Holding at 150 Acres; Evacuations Ordered
Peterson has acknowledged hitting his four-year-old son with a tree branch, leaving visible marks. The Vikings deactivated him for last Sunday’s game after the news broke but then announced he would play this Sunday as the legal process plays out. Radisson suspended its team sponsorship deal shortly after.
Radisson is the first team sponsor to back off following a string of off-field incidents involving players. But league-wide sponsors are now voicing public disapproval of the league’s actions – or inactions as critics have characterized.
Anheuser-Busch, which sponsors the league to the tune of an estimated $50 million a year, said Tuesday it was ‘disappointed and increasingly concerned’ about the incidents overshadowing the season and has spoken to the league about its concerns.
In the past few weeks, the public outcry has centered on what the NFL knew about a video showing former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching and knocking out his then-fiance, the light punishment Rice received before the public disclosure of the video, and the decision by the San Francisco 49ers to allow Ray McDonald to play after he was accused of domestic violence.
“We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”READ MORE: Car Fleeing CHP Causes AC Transit Bus to Plow Into Oakland Home
McDonald’s issued a similar statement Tuesday, saying it has “communicated our concerns to the league, and we expect it to take strong and necessary actions to address these issues.”
The NFL issued a short response Tuesday: “We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come,” the statement said. On Monday, the league said it was hiring three female consultants to help shape league policies and programs on domestic violence and sexual assault.
Other sponsors airing their concerns with the NFL included Campbell Soup, PepsiCo and San Francisco-based Visa.
As a long-standing sponsor we have spoken with the NFL about our concerns regarding recent events, and reinforced the critical importance that they address these issues with great seriousness,” said Visa in a statement.
Campbell Soup said it would be looking at the Ray Rice situation closely. “Upon completion of the investigation, we expect the NFL to take appropriate action,” the company said in a statement.
Covergirl has also issued a statement after its ad campaign targeting female NFL fans was turned into a Twitter protest against the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell:MORE NEWS: Marin County Judge Tentatively Rejects Cutting Inmate Crowding at San Quentin
As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.