PepsiCo Condemns NFL Domestic Violence Scandal: Players’ Behavior Is Repugnant

Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi writes that the NFL has “an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them”

Last Updated: September 18, 2014 @ 9:13 AM

PepsiCo came out with a new statement in response to the ongoing scandal in the NFL regarding domestic violence and the league’s handling of these situations among players. Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi condemned the “repugnant behavior” of the players involved in the scandal while cautiously applauding the NFL’s current efforts.

She wrote that the league’s “mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love.” But she came to the defense of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whom she called “a man of integrity.”

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“I am confident that he will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing,” she wrote, and called the hiring of former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct an investigation into the Ray Rice situation a positive step, as well as the creation of a four-woman task force to help shape the NFL’s domestic violence policies.

PepsiCo currently pays the NFL $100 million per year to be its official soft drink. In its original statement, the company said, “Domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We are encouraged to see the NFL is now treating this with the seriousness it deserves.”

In its new statement, Nooyi says that the NFL has “an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them. I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse.”

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The league has been rocked by controversy since video of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator went public. Rice has since been cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the league, but there were questions raised about whether or not the NFL had seen the video prior to its public release.

More recently, child abuse charges have been brought against Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who admitted to beating his child with a switch made from a tree branch. He was suspended one game by the team.

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PepsiCo joins several other corporate sponsors who spoke out against the NFL’s mishandling of its domestic abuse crisis, including Anheuser-Busch, McDonalds, Campbell’s Soup and Radisson Hotels, which pulled its sponsorship from the Vikings after Peterson was reinstated.

PepsiCo chairman & CEO Indra Nooyi’s full statement is below.

I am a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan. I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love. When it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.

“Given PepsiCo’s long-standing partnership with the NFL, I know Roger Goodell. We have worked together for many years. I know him to be a man of integrity, and I am confident that he will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.

“Over the past several days, it is increasing apparent that the NFL is starting to treat these issues with the seriousness they deserve. Hiring former FBI Director Robert Mueller to conduct a thorough investigation is a positive step, as is hiring three prominent women with significant, relevant expertise and assigning another, who is an NFL official, to help shape its domestic violence policies. These individuals must now be given the necessary time to review all relevant facts so that corrective actions can be taken, and well-tailored and effective policies against domestic violence and child abuse can be implemented immediately.

“The reality for Commissioner Goodell and the NFL is that they now have an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them. I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse.”