Sponsors and owners are quaking in fear over the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest America.
In fact one major sponsor of the NFL has walked away from a profitable advertising deal:
Tennessee businessman Allen Jones pulled all ads for two of his successful businesses, Check Into Cash and Hardwick Clothes, from the NFL for the rest of the year.
Jones called the league “unpatriotic.”
“The NFL has to change,” President Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday morning, “or you know what’s going to happen? Their business is going to go to hell.”
We reported on Trump’s statements here.
The President’s prediction looks like its starting to come true.
“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” Jones said in a statement. “For the 29 states we operate in, this isn’t much to them, but it’s a lot to us. The Tombras Group is our ad agency in Knoxville and our national media buyer for both TV and radio (for Check Into Cash) and don’t look for Hardwick on the NFL either.”
Jones’s decision to pull his commercials from NFL games is the first to come after President Trump suggested companies boycott the NFL.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Trump is advocating football fans boycott NFL teams that employ players who protest during the playing of the anthem before a game. Via Twitter, he’s urged fans to walk out of stadiums or turn off their TVs, a direct threat to the NFL and the sponsors that pay big money to sell their products on network televised games.
In essence, he favors damaging the league and those who do business with the NFL.
Trump’s advocacy appears to be gaining ground with those who favor, and even oppose, his call to economic arms. On Twitter, both groups are starting to set their sights on NFL sponsors by pressing the companies to take a stand on player protests or risk losing customers.
McDonald’s, Pepsi, and other big money sponsors are waiting it out for now to see how the winds blow.
Jones’s decision, however, may incite expectation from Americans for other sponsors to do the same.
As the number of kneelers increases, the intensity of the controversy also increases.
In light of this Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser Beer, among other brands, just released a statement on the NFL kneeling controversy:
At Anheuser-Busch we have a long heritage of supporting the institutions and values that have made America so strong. That includes our armed forces and the national anthem as well as diversity, equality and freedom of speech. We proudly employ over 1,100 military veterans and we work every day to create an inclusive environment for all of our employees. Because only together can we achieve our dream of bringing people together for a better world.
We have many long-term sports partnerships, including our NFL sponsorship, and while we may not agree on everything, we still believe in the power of sport to bring people together and overcome their differences.
What do you think about this statement by Anheuser-Busch? Is this a reasonable approach by advertisers or a weaselly way to get out of addressing the issue at hand? Do you think it will hurt, harm or have no affect on sales?
Sound off and let us know what you think in the comment section below.