Budweiser Pulls Out of NFL Over National Anthem Protests-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

Budweiser has pulled its ads and withdrawn its support for the NFL over the league’s handling of players protesting inequality by kneeling during the National Anthem.

The Truth:

None of the 35 national brands sponsoring the 2017 NFL season — including Budweiser — have pulled out of the NFL in response to widespread player protests during the National Anthem.

However, a Louisiana-baed distributor of Bud Light pulled point-of-sale advertising materials featuring the NFL and the New Orleans Saints in response to the protests. That led some to believe that all Bud Light ads had been pulled from the NFL, but that’s not the case.

Rumors that Budweisers had pulled out of the NFL surfaced in September 2017, shortly after President Trump called on NFL owners to fire the “sons of bitches” who kneel during the National Anthem to bring attention to inequality.

Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the parent company of Budweiser,  expressed support for “the institutions and values that have made America so strong,” in a statement. The company also voiced support for the military, the flag and gave no indication that it would pull out of the NFL:

“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.”

Under Armour, Ford, Nike, Hyundai and Bose are among other NFL sponsors who joined Budweiser in voicing support for athletes’ rights for free speech, the National Anthem and the American flag in general. None of them indicated that they were dissatisfied with the NFL’s handling of the protests, or that they intended to withdraw its support.

Budweiser did speak up in 2014 over the NFL’s inconsistent handling of allegations of domestic violence among players, and that’s caused some confusion. Budweiser threatened to end its $1.2 billion, six-year sponsorship deal at the time, but that never happened. The company’s 2014 statements have been misattributed to the 2017 National Anthem protests on social media.

And the Lafayette, Louisiana-based  Schilling Distributing Company’s decision to pull Bud Light point-of-sale materials featuring the NFL and the Saints might have also caused some confusion. The local distributor’s decision, however, doesn’t impact Budweiser’s multibillion dollar deal with the NFL.

However, at least one individual player appears to have lost a sponsorship deal after kneeling for the anthem on September 24, 2017. CBS Denver reports that Phil Long Dealerships pulled ads featuring Denver Broncos player Vonn Miller. The dealership explained the decision in a statement to the station:

“We are evaluating the events of the weekend.  It is important to state that we haven’t fired Von. We are in the middle of contract renewal and this weekend’s events remind us that sometimes we feel that we best represent ourselves. We support Von and his first amendment rights, we know Von and he’s a good person. He donated a police car to his hometown police dept. All that notwithstanding when we bring in celebrities to represent us we run the risk of being misrepresented.”

In the end, it’s not true that Budweiser has pulled out of the NFL.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 09/27/2017

Did Budweiser pull out of the NFL?