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Volume 25 No. 239
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USAA Could Be In Tough Spot As NFL Sponsor Amid Recent Player Protests During Anthem

The USAA is getting "jeered over its sponsorship of the NFL in the wake of some players kneeling during the national anthem" and might be in a "tougher spot than other companies simply because its customers are current and former members of the military," according to Patrick Danner of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. The USAA sponsors the "Salute to Service" campaign with the NFL, which "encourages appreciation of the military." The USAA told its members on its community forum last week that it has "no plans to end" its role as a sponsor (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/30). THE MMQB's Peter King writes he would "watch NFL advertisers this week," and if a major one "breaks ranks and comes out and says it’s considering dropping its NFL sponsorship, you’ll see ownership work hard to mollify players" (MMQB.SI.com, 10/2). 

WALL STREET TURNING AWAY? In N.Y., John Aidan Byrne notes Wall Street veterans are "huddling up against the NFL." Many brokers and bankers -- some of whom are also military veterans -- have "threatened to pull the plug on pro football for not reining in players who are using the American national anthem as an opportunity to protest by taking the knee." The NFL is starting to "feel the financial whiplash from Wall Street." Some of the highest rollers at games are "deal-makers and stock traders who unwind in the best stadium suites, sponsor the NFL and bankroll the franchise by buying blocks of season tickets" (N.Y. POST, 10/2). ESPN.com's Van Natta & Wickersham reported that during an owners meeting at the league's HQ in N.Y. the topic "turned to the subject of angry fan bases and nervous sponsors."  Redskins Owner Dan Snyder said that "a '$40 million' NFL sponsor was considering pulling out." He "kept repeating '$40 million' to add emphasis" (ESPN.com, 9/29).

CUSTOMER SERVICE: St. Louis-based KTVI-Fox reported A-B's consumer help line "temporarily went down Friday afternoon" due to a "high volume of calls" stemming from a social media campaign around the NFL protests. A post to the "RockIt News" Facebook page has "generated several hundred likes and shares." The post says, "Should Budweiser keep sponsoring the NFL? Let them know how you feel! Call 1-800-DIAL BUD (342-5283) and press 1 for their stand on the NFL and then leave a message." Anheuser Busch "added the '1' option" last Monday following the player protests (FOX2NOW.com, 9/29).