Anheuser-Busch joins growing chorus of corporate concern over NFL controversies

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Anheuser-Busch is the latest NFL sponsor to express disappointment in the league’s handling of recent player behavior. The company released a statement Tuesday afternoon –

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.

Controversy has exploded in recent weeks over the league’s handling of Ray Rice’s domestic assault case. Adrian Peterson has also been indicted on child abuse charges for spanking his son with a switch and was more recently accused of injuring a second son.

Radisson Hotels has suspended its local sponsorship deal with the Minnesota Vikings over the matter; the chain’s logo was on the backdrop behind general manager Rick Spielman when he made the controversial announcement Monday to bring back Peterson.

Nike stores at the Mall of America in Bloomington and at an outlet mall in Albertville pulled Peterson merchandise. The Associated Press left a message with Nike seeking comment. Mylan Inc. said it was no longer working with Peterson to promote its EpiPen, used to treat allergic reactions. The running back had participated in several promotions to raise awareness for anaphylaxis, which he has dealt with in the past.

“Mylan has ended all activities with Adrian Peterson,” spokeswoman Julie Knell said. “We remain committed to supporting those managing potentially life-threatening allergies and will continue our educational efforts to increase anaphylaxis awareness and preparedness.”

U.S. Bank, which is rumored to be in the running for the naming rights to the team’s new stadium, said it is “monitoring the situation closely.”

So is Shaun Hagglund, the owner of Fan HQ in suburban Minneapolis, who said he pulled Peterson apparel from the store’s shelves as soon as the charge came down on Friday night.

“I’m not making a moral stand or a judgment,” Hagglund said. “Just for now, let’s see what comes of this and see what stories are true and which ones are not and take it from there.”

Wheaties has pulled the last of the Peterson mentions from its website, but General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas said that was because of a contractual matter and not related to the child abuse charge. Siemienas said most of the Peterson material was removed months ago as the brand shifted to a new promotion with younger and up-and-coming athletes.

Other sponsors were still standing behind the Vikings and Peterson, including Verizon Wireless.

“We are supportive of the NFL and, at this point, we are satisfied with our sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings,” Verizon said in a statement to The Associated Press. “In fact, for the past several years we have collaborated with the Vikings on several programs to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence, an issue Verizon has had a long-standing commitment to.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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