The NFL has been going through a tumultuous time over the last few weeks, with domestic violence and child abuse occupying the headlines. The NFL and its franchises have done a fairly weak job dealing with these issues, generally appearing reactive rather than proactive. The league has displayed an arrogance given its spot as the most popular televised sport in America, and a little fan anguish is probably not going to change that.
The best way to force change by any business is hit them in the pocket books. It is still early, but NFL sponsors might actually be taking some kind of notice about the behavior of NFL players, and the corporate overseers that often turn a blind eye to said bad behavior. Anheuser-Busch issued a statement on Tuesday, while Nike has taken some action in Minneapolis
NFL beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch, issues strong statement pic.twitter.com/HybXHjymDr— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) September 16, 2014
An eye-opening development: Nike stores in Twin Cities have pulled all Adrian Peterson merch from shelves. Nike.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) September 16, 2014
As Ann Killion put it, you know you're in trouble when the beer company is dropping "moral code" on you. It is only talk right now, but I am curious to see how this develops. For now, this can be viewed primarily as PR work by Anheuser-Busch, but it's certainly something. The question is how the NFL responds, and what the next step is if the NFL does not respond to Anheuser-Busch's satisfaction.
For now, the NFL is in a mess of trouble as it tries to get out of its own way. They talk about caring about the fans, but I think more and more people are recognizing that the NFL and its teams are primarily about money and winning. It will take financial incentive to get them to change their ways, and hopefully this is the first step toward that kind of pressure. I'm not holding my breath for changes soon, but maybe something will happen.