The NFL has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks as domestic violence and child abuse charges sideline some of the league’s most high profile players. As public condemnation for the NFL grows, major sponsors are starting to second-guess their relationship with the league.
Earlier this week, the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of the child abuse charges against running back Adrian Peterson. On a larger scale, Anheuser-Busch – the official beer of the NFL since 2011 – released a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the “recent incidents.”
"We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesman said. “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."
The NFL was quick to respond to the beer company. "We understand," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said of the Anheuser-Busch statement. "We are taking action and there will be much more to come."
While it is unlikely a company like Anheuser-Busch will actually end its partnership with what is arguably America’s favorite pastime, their public condemnation of the NFL is significant.
On radio this morning, Glenn warned that if the NFL does not clean up its act, there could come a time when its fan base and corporate sponsors decide enough is enough. He likened the potential fallout to Hollywood, which has seen a huge drop off in box office sales as of late – not because people don’t like going to see movies but because the industry has become so out of step with the audience.
“They're saying people don't like movies anymore. People like movies. People don't like the experience anymore… and I think it's because Hollywood has gotten so out of step with the American people that they no longer have that fantasy relationship with movies,” Glenn said. “I'm sorry, but I think the NFL and all sports are going to go down the same road.”
While the NFL may have a “king of the world” mentality right now, Glenn believes there is a contingent of people who will be turned off by the league’s ethics – or lack thereof.
“I give that warning to the NFL,” Glenn said. “I'm telling you, if you don't clean up your mess, if you don't start saying, ‘We have certain ethics, and I don't care how damn good you are on the field, if you violate these ethics, you're not worthy to play the game’… everybody has a bad day. Everybody has their own problems. But you have to have a certain level of decency. I don't think the NFL has that.”
Glenn used the NFL’s handling of former Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice’s domestic violence case as an example. After initially giving Rice a paltry two game suspension, the league reversed course and suspended him indefinitely after surveillance footage showed him knock out his then-girlfriend Janay Palmer and public outrage ensued.
“Ray Rice, what happened to him? Two game [suspension]. He knocked his girl out,” Glenn said exasperatedly. “These guys are thugs and monsters. I'm not bringing my kids to an NFL game because I can't say to my kids, ‘Hey, let's watch that guy… by the way, he's a scumbag in real life. But let's root for him.’”
In separating on-the-field performance from off-the-field actions, Glenn believes we are teaching children they can behave however they want in their personal life so long as they excel professionally.
“That's wrong,” Glenn concluded. “That's showing them that money is over everything else. It's not.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP