Here's how NFL sponsors are reacting to Trump's national anthem crusade

After President Trump trashed the NFL for allowing players to protest during the national anthem, NFL sponsors are slowly beginning to respond to the political firestorm.

Some sponsors are issuing cautious statements that do not appear to take one side or the other, while others have unequivocally supported the players’ right to protest. The majority of sponsors have remained silent.

The NFL reaped $1.25 billion in sponsorship revenue last season. Its official league sponsors this season are: Anheuser-Busch InBev; Barclaycard; Bose; Bridgestone; Campbell’s; Castrol; Dannon; DMI; EA Sports; Extreme Networks; FedEx; Ford; Frito-Lay (PepsiCo-owned); Gatorade (PepsiCo-owned); Hyundai; Intel; Marriott; Mars; McDonald’s; Microsoft; Nationwide; New Era; News America; Nike; Papa John’s; PepsiCo; Procter & Gamble; Quaker; Sirius XM; Ticketmaster; Under Armour; USAA; Verizon; Visa; and Zebra.

Here’s a running list of all the sponsors to issue statements on the anthem protests so far. Yahoo Finance has reached out to very sponsor and will keep updating it as they respond.

This list was last updated at 2:33 pm EST on Sept. 26, 2017.

Sponsors react to NFL-Trump controversy
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Sponsors react to NFL-Trump controversy

Under Armour

Under Armour was the first official sponsor to issue any kind of statement in response to Trump’s comments Friday night. On Saturday morning, Under Armour sent out a tweet that carefully avoided taking a side.

The company said it “stands for the flag and by our Athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.” It appears to voice support both for the anthem and for the players protesting during the anthem.


Ford, also an NFL sponsor, said on Monday, “We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share.”

Like Under Armour’s statement, it avoids fully siding with the president or the player protests. But the latter part of the statement (“even if they are not ones we share”) arguably implies Ford does not share the view of the player protests.

REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker


On Monday morning, Nike became the third NFL sponsor to issue a statement, and arguably the first to take a clear position: it sided with the players.

In a statement sent to the media, Nike said: “Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society.”

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)


Hyundai issued a statement on Monday afternoon that, like Nike, clearly sides with the players’ right to protest.

The statement says, “We stand for and respect individuals’ freedoms to express their first amendment rights in any peaceful manner in which they choose. We also stand for inclusion, freedom and all that represents those values.”

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Anheuser-Busch InBev

On Monday night, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch InBev sent Yahoo Finance this statement, which appears to fall into the play-it-safe, neutral category along with Under Armour and Ford:

“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.”

(Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Bose sent out this statement on Monday night:

“Bose was founded in the United States, and our world headquarters is in Massachusetts, where it’s been for over 50 years. It’s now surrounded by several other Bose facilities – and at all of them, at all times, we proudly fly the American flag. It’s a symbol of our great country which protects the freedom for every person to express their views. We respect that freedom, whether we agree with those views or not.”

Like Ford’s statement, it plays to both sides, but arguably ends up siding more against the protests, with the “whether we agree with those views or not” clause.

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No comment: Barclaycard

Some brands have responded to our request for a statement by declining comment, which is different from not responding at all.

Barclaycard declined to comment.


The rest of the NFL sponsors have not responded to our requests for comment.

Yahoo Finance will continue to monitor all the responses closely, right here.

For more on the business of the NFL and how NFL sponsors will react to political controversies involving the league, listen to our new Yahoo Finance Sportsbook podcast.

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite. Sportsbook is our sports business video and podcast series.

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