A grocery store pledges to stop selling NFL-branded Pepsi sodas 'as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag'
- An Alabama grocery store owner is refusing to sell Pepsi products that feature the NFL logo.
- "I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love," S&Z Grocery posted on Facebook.
- Pepsi hasn't faced much public backlash for its $90 million NFL sponsorship, as other brands have grappled with how to respond to players' national anthem protests against police brutality.
An Alabama grocery store owner is refusing to sell Pepsi products with the NFL logo.
On Wednesday, S&Z Grocery in Athens, Alabama posted on Facebook that it would no longer sell 20-ounce bottles of Pepsi or Diet Pepsi produced with the NFL logo, even if it means losing business.
"I refuse to sell the product until the logo is removed," the post reads. "I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love."
Local news outlet WAFF 48 reports that the owner, Phillip Stewart, has also stopped selling some bottles of Gatorade that feature the NFL logo. He will, however, sell PepsiCo products without the logo.
"I pulled them myself, the customers didn’t know I was doing this," Stewart told WAFF 48. "I sold the product that I had that did not have the logo on it. And I told my rep as well as the delivery guy that I did not want those brought into the store, because I would not sell them."
Companies have been divided in their approach to NFL players' protests against police brutality. Critics saw the protest — during which many players kneel during the national anthem — as disrespectful to the military, and Trump called for players who protested during the anthem to be fired.
Papa John's sparked backlash when John Schnatter, its founder and CEO at the time, criticized the league's handling of protesting players, and the company later ended its longtime sponsorship of the NFL. (Schnatter was ousted from Papa John's earlier this year after using the N-word in a company conference call.)
Pizza Hut is now the official pizza sponsor of the NFL. Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut's chief brand officer, told Business Insider the company plans to avoid engaging in such controversy by focusing on the fans.
In September, Nike debuted its ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. While some observers praised Nike for the new Kaepernick ad campaign, others threatened the boycott the brand.
Pepsi hasn't faced much public backlash for its NFL sponsorship. In 2011, PepsiCo and the NFL renewed the sponsorship deal with a 10-year contract, with Pepsi paying a reported $90 million for the right to be the league's sponsor.
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