NFL sponsors concerned over controversies

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(AP) — The NFL is beginning to hear from its major sponsors amid the league’s recent instances of domestic abuse.

Anheuser Busch says it has spoken with the NFL about former Raven Ray Rice’s domestic abuse situation and the child abuse charges against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. McDonald’s, Visa and Campbell Soup Co. say they have also voiced similar concerns to the league.

In response, the league issued a statement saying: “We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come.”

Yearly sponsorship money is worth about $1.07 billion for the league and its teams, according to sponsorship consultancy IEG.

Radisson Hotels have pulled their sponsorship of the Vikings, and Nike stores in the Twin Cities area have pulled Peterson merchandise from their shelves.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says Peterson should have remained suspended until an accusation of child abuse was resolved in the Texas legal system. Peterson is accused of causing injury to his 4-year old son by using a wooden switch to spank him.

The governor said in a statement to The Associated Press that Peterson is innocent until proven guilty. But Dayton also called Peterson’s actions “a public embarrassment” to the Vikings and the state of Minnesota.

And the union has appealed Rice’s indefinite suspension. He was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL’s personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

The former Ravens running back had already served the first game of that suspension when a video surfaced last week showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator.

Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the “new evidence.”

Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8.