Budweiser, one of the NFL’s largest sponsors, is dipping a toe into the national anthem controversy surging through the league and nation.
You don’t have to be a football fan to know that many players, coaches, and team owners have been kneeling, locking arms, or raising fists during the national anthem this season. Colin Kaepernick, former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial injustice in America. He is now an unsigned free agent. President Trump denounced the demonstrations last month. More than 200 league members have since knelt or sat in solidarity. Last weekend, Jay-Z wore a custom Kaepernick jersey when he performed on Saturday Night Life.
Because Bud Light is the official beer of the NFL, in response to the controversy, parent company Anheuser-Busch set up a hotline at 1-800-342-5283 for customers to express their opinions about the protests. It’s unclear whether the hotline is designed to gauge customer support or opposition (or both). According to Fortune, DirecTV has received numerous refund requests. Fox Sports has stopped showing the national anthem before the game.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Anheuser-Busch spokesman Matt Kohan says “the company has no plans to end its NFL sponsorship.” Until further notice, expect Budweiser and Bud Lite to be readily available at stadiums for the rest of the NFL season.