Procter & Gamble Co. has pulled the plug on planned "on-field" activities around a breast-cancer awareness promotion with the NFL in the wake of the domestic-violence controversy swirling around the league, the company confirmed.
P&G's Crest brand had worked with the NFL to launch a league-wide campaign during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October involving multiple teams and players. CBSSports.com reported yesterday and P&G confirmed that the players were to have worn pink mouth guards and used social media to advance awareness of the effort.
"Crest believes breast-cancer awareness is a critically important program to support women in their health, and, as planned, is making a $100,000 donation to the American Cancer Society," a P&G spokesman said in an email statement. The brand also "will participate in media and retailer activities to help drive attention to the cause."
But the brand "has decided to cancel on-field activation with NFL teams," he said, because of the ongoing controversy.
P&G earlier this week issued a call on the NFL to take "swift action" to address the issue of domestic violence after an image from CoverGirl's NFL web page was altered to show the model in Baltimore Ravens-colored cosmetics sporting a black eye.
The NFL controversy began earlier this year when former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for only two games after a video surfaced showing him dragging his unconscious then-fiancee, now wife, from an elevator in Las Vegas.
The Ravens and the NFL parted ways with Mr. Rice last week after a video surfaced of him hitting her in the elevator, and the NFL has launched an independent investigation into Commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of the incident. A drumbeat of domestic-violence allegations and disciplinary actions against other players, including star Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has dominated headlines this week.
P&G's corporate website and several brand websites with NFL tie-ins were down on Monday as the doctored CoverGirl photo went viral. But the company said the sites were undergoing maintenance, and there was no sign that any NFL-related content was removed when the sites went live again later that evening, including the CoverGirl image that had gone viral.
Earlier this week, Radisson Hotels suspended its sponsorship of the Vikings.