While it may be nearly impossible to dent the NFL’s ten-billion dollar entertainment business following its atrocious handling of domestic abuse by its own players, some of the league’s most prominent sponsors are beginning to express concern.
None of the NFL’s big sponsors have taken action and stopped supporting the league. But some action has been taken regarding the players. Nike has already terminated its contract with Ray Rice and suspended its contract with Adrian Peterson, two players involved in the domestic abuse scandals. Peterson has also lost his sponsorship with Castrol Motor Oil, and Rice has been dropped from the latest version of the popular NFL video game, Madden 15.
Despite action being taken against some of the players, no action has been taken against the league. To this point sponsors have only pulled back, not out. But many think that more withdrawals are forthcoming. Prominent NFL sponsors Anheuser-Busch, Verizon, Pepsi, Campbell Soup, and McDonalds have all condemned violence against women and children this past week and have also voiced concern with the league. And with breast cancer awareness month on the horizon, more sponsors are already withdrawing support. Manufacturing juggernaut Procter & Gamble has cancelled its sponsorship of the NFL’s breast cancer awareness. A month of players wearing pink apparel to create breast cancer awareness will ring hollow if the NFL continues to show disregard for abuse towards women.
This development is especially worrisome for commissioner Roger Goodell. One of the main reasons the owners won’t vote out Goodell is the sheer amount of money he brings them every year. Goodell has turned the NFL into a revenue juggernaut, bringing in the 32 owners even more money. But as soon as this domestic abuse controversy cuts into that money, the owners may be more inclined to oust Goodell for his weak response to the issue. And that would be progress in the eyes of many.
Written by Tristan Rhee’17