Child abuse case sends Peterson sponsors runningAdrian Peterson has been one of the most popular and marketable stars in the NFL, an approachable superstar with an inspirational comeback story that made him an endorser’s dream.
Now that he is facing a felony charge of child abuse for spanking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch, the Minnesota running back is in the middle of a firestorm, and several sponsors are starting to distance themselves while the controversy envelopes a league in crisis.
In the wake of the Vikings’ decision to allow Peterson to play while the legal process plays out in Texas, the Radisson hotel chain has suspended its relationship with the Vikings. Special Olympics Minnesota, Castrol motor oil and Mylan severed ties with Peterson and Nike stores in the Twin Cities have stopped selling merchandise with his name on it.
And Peterson’s All Day Foundation, which has been devoted to helping children, put up and took down a series of statements on its website before shutting it down, including one that said it “will re-engage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian’s philanthropy.’’
“It is an awful situation,’’ said Gov. Mark Dayton, who spearheaded an effort to secure $477 million in public funding for a stadium that is being built downtown. “Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved.’’
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf sat Peterson for the 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. After reviewing files, speaking to Peterson, his attorney and authorities, the Wilfs decided to reinstate Peterson and he plans to play this weekend.
Anheuser-Busch said it was “disappointed and increasingly concerned’’ with the negative attention brought to the league by Ray Rice’s assault on his wife and Peterson’s treatment of his son.
Nike pulled Peterson jerseys from its stores at the Mall of America in Bloomington and in outlet malls in Eagan and Albertville. Nike still sells the jerseys and features Peterson on its website.
Mylan 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.
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