Radisson is the first sponsor to end its relationship with an NFL team over recent allegations of domestic and child abuse.
Other national sponsors have stated that they are monitoring the situation after bad publicity over Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players enveloped the league, but Radisson is the first to suspend its relationship. The decision came after a press conference Monday in which Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman explained the team’s decision to allow Peterson to play Sunday while standing in front of a backdrop that displayed the Radisson and Vikings logos.
The GM explained that the team would let the legal process play out and, at one point, stated: “I understand this is a difficult thing to handle, but we feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child. Whether it’s an abusive situation or not, whether he went too far disciplining, we feel strongly that that is the court’s decision to make.”
The running back, one of the NFL’s top stars, was arrested Saturday in Texas on charges of recklessly or negligently injuring a child, which triggered a debate on the difference between discipline and abuse. Peterson has apologized for disciplining his child with a switch, leaving him cut on the legs, arms and genitals. Peterson, in a statement Monday, said, “I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser.”
“Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children,” the company said in a statement. “We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.”
Other sponsors, like Marriott and CoverGirl, have said they are watching developments, which on Monday included Commissioner Roger Goodell’s appointment of a vice-president and three outside advisers — all women — to work with the league on domestic violence issues.