It is disheartening that it took a graphic video of a famous athlete to spark a vocal condemnation of domestic violence in America. Yet despite the specifics of how the conversation got started it has been an undeniably good thing that there has been intense vocal, moral, and"> It is disheartening that it took a graphic video of a famous athlete to spark a vocal condemnation of domestic violence in America. Yet despite the specifics of how the conversation got started it has been an undeniably good thing that there has been intense vocal, moral, and">

Ray Rice Fallout Hits Beer World

2008<em>1</em>31budIt is disheartening that it took a graphic video of a famous athlete to spark a vocal condemnation of domestic violence in America. Yet despite the specifics of how the conversation got started it has been an undeniably good thing that there has been intense vocal, moral, and financial support in favor of domestic violence never being acceptable in any context, ever. While this seems like a non-controversial opinion it apparently took a famous NFL player beating his girlfriend unconscious in an elevator and the paltry consequences by both the criminal justice system and the league which pays him millions of dollars to really bring this position into the public spot light.

Anheuser-Busch is the official beer sponsor of the NFL. Yesterday they released a small statement condemning the behavior of the National Football League and its handling of these events. On Anheuser-Busch’s newsroom website it had this to say:

We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.

A small gesture in support of the victims of domestic violence from a corporate sponsor of the NFL. It is equivalent to pulling their sponsorship, it wasn’t overly harshly worded. It was a PR statement that Anheuser-Busch isn’t in support of the mismanagement of Ray Rice’s crime and subsequent dismissal plain and simple.

Arian Foster of the Houston Texans felt this position to be highly hypocritical. He took to twitter and lambasted Anheuser-Busch for being hypocritical, taking advantage of a tragedy, selling poison, and that alcohol is equivalent to domestic violence.

Lol ok, alcohol company. RT @darrenrovell: NFL beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch, issues strong statement pic.twitter.com/TCEbA4s5Q1

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

Selling poison on that high horse.

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

Domestic violence and alcohol damn near synonymous.

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

You need a company to tell you dv is wrong? RT @eddieb2: Finally a BIG time company taking a public stance AGAINST and you rip them? Huh?

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

Everybody is just riding the media wave. There has been tons of dv cases throughout the years where was all this support then? Its political

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

Anytime it's starts to tinkering with their bottom line, then they act. Now they're concerned.

— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) September 16, 2014

I’m not about to condemn Foster for these comments. I think this is a case of a well intentioned, passionate man attempting to make a valid point in a sadly nearly incoherent way. (I probably sympathize a bit too much as I’m someone whose passion often trumps nuance on social media.)

A generous reading of Foster’s tweets is that he finds it despicable that Anheuser-Busch, a company that sells a product far too often linked with domestic violence, often marketed to its audience in a way that is demeaning or objectifying to women, who has profited greatly from sponsorship with the NFL, the teams, and the stadiums they play at, is making a vapid PR move to capitalize on a personal tragedy by kicking its business partner while it is down.

A fair point to be made. I’m not intimately aware of Foster’s back story but it appears from these tweets that he perhaps has witnessed the darker side of alcohol up close and doesn’t feel that a company selling alcohol has the moral high ground in these proceedings. He also seems to think that Anheuser-Busch seems a little hypocritical to be “disappointed and increasingly concerned” now when domestic violence is a daily occurrence in America.

I don’t think Foster is wrong. I just don’t think calling out Anheuser-Busch for attempting to comment on the actions of a business partner in being remiss in their duties is a bad thing either. They could have easily kept silent and continued to profit on a league that has been consistently embroiled in controversy. Their silence being an implicit approval of the feckless actions by the commissioner of the NFL.

As culpable parties go I think the NFL does need a ton of public shaming. It wasn’t until public outcry was at a tipping point that they acted appropriately. I thought Anheuser-Busch’s comments were too milquetoast to be adequate and not worth of condemnation for being too harsh.

What are your thoughts on this public relations battle?