Radisson Hotels announced Monday it would suspend its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of the franchise’s decision to reinstate star running back Adrian Peterson despite a pending child abuse charge. The hotel chain, based in Minnesota, became the first major sponsor to withdraw its support for the team.
“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.”
Typically, Radisson’s logo appears in the backdrop used during Vikings press conferences, USA Today noted. The company’s name was prominently displayed Monday when general manager Rick Spielman explained the rationale behind the team’s decision to reactivate Peterson despite his ongoing legal issues.
Neither the Peterson case, nor the continuing backlash from the NFL’s handling of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s physical assault on his wife has led a national sponsor to withdraw support from the NFL itself.
PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), which has a $100 million deal with the NFL, said it was “encouraged to see the NFL treating [domestic violence] with the seriousness it deserves.” Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) declined to comment on the situation entirely.
Peterson’s personal business relationships, however, have suffered as a result of the allegations. Wheaties scrubbed the Vikings star’s profile and all references to him from its website Monday, ESPN reported.
Peterson was booked by authorities in Houston Saturday on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. If convicted, he could face two years in prison and a possible fine of $10,000.
“I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child. I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son,” Peterson said.