HONG KONG – The Radisson hotel chain has suspended its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of child abuse allegations against Adrian Peterson.
The announcement came just hours after the Vikings reinstated the star running back, who was indicted last week in Texas on a felony child abuse charge. Prosecutors allege the 29-year-old father did “recklessly or by criminal negligence cause bodily injury” while disciplining his son.
“Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children,” the Minnesota- based 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,” the company said.
Sponsorships bring $1.07 billion a year to the NFL and its 32 teams, according to sponsorship research firm IEG. The most money comes from PepsiCo, whose sponsorships include Pepsi products, Gatorade and Frito-Lay snacks.
During a press conference held Monday by the Vikings organization, general manager Rick Spielman addressed the controversy while standing in front of a backdrop that prominently featured the Radisson hotel logo.
“We feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child and whether it’s an abusive situation or not … we feel very strongly that that is the court’s decision to make,” Spielman said.
Peterson, one of the NFL’s marquee players, will practice this week and can play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
In his first comments on the case, Peterson said in a statement that he “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.”
“I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child,” he said.
The allegations against Peterson come as the NFL faces intense criticism over its mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case. The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, has admitted he made a mistake to initially suspend Rice for only two game.