Peterson fallout: Nike stores pull jerseys; player's charity on 'hiatus'

Adrian Peterson
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on Sept. 7, 2014.
Tom Gannam / AP

Companies and charities with ties to the Minnesota Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson continue to rethink those relationships given Peterson's indictment on child abuse.

On Tuesday, Nike stores at the Mall of America in Bloomington and at an outlet mall in Albertville pulled Peterson merchandise, the Associated Press reported.

Peterson's All Day Foundation also announced it would go "on hiatus" immediately, saying staff and Peterson's family needed time to assess the foundation's future.

And Mylan Inc. said it was no longer working with Peterson to promote its EpiPen, used to treat allergic reactions. The running back had participated in several promotions to raise awareness for anaphylaxis, which he has dealt with in the past.

The announcements came a day after the Radisson hotel chain opted to suspend its sponsorship of Minnesota's NFL team citing its "long standing commitment to the protection of children."

Other Vikings sponsors said Tuesday they continue to keep watch on Peterson's case.

"We're monitoring the situation closely," said Dana Ripley, a spokesman for U.S. Bank, one of the team's marquee sponsors, listed at the top of the Vikings website.

LaCrosse, Wisconsin, based Kwik Trip stores said the same, only noting they are aware of Radisson's decision.

Peterson was benched over the weekend following his indictment in Texas on a child abuse charge tied to Peterson's disciplining of his 4-year-old son.

On Monday, however, the team said Peterson was cleared to play while the case works its way through the Texas legal system.

Peterson in a statement has apologized for hurting his child, but added, "I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser." He said he disciplined his son the way he was disciplined as a child. His court case will unfold in Texas next month.

The Vikings list more than a dozen other companies on its fan promotions page.

A spokeswoman for the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital — perhaps one of the most sensitive relationships in light of the charges against Peterson — said U officials are weighing how to respond to the matter. The hospital sponsors a "Heart of a Viking" testimonial that features youth football stories from around Minnesota.

Related coverage:
• More: Radisson suspends Vikings sponsorship
• NewsCut: Vikings almost showed some character
• Tuesday: Dayton: Peterson a 'public embarrassment' to Minn.
• Monday: Peterson says he's not a child abuser

At least one sponsor remained firmly committed to the NFL franchise, despite the controversy.

"We are supportive of the NFL and, at this point, we are satisfied with our sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings," said Karen Smith, a spokeswoman for Verizon, another marquee sponsor for the Vikings.

"In fact, for the past several years we have collaborated with the Vikings on several programs to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence, an issue Verizon has had a long-standing commitment to."

Before the Radisson decision, Fan HQ, a sportswear and memorabilia store at the Ridgedale Center mall in Minnetonka, pulled the Adrian Peterson No. 28 Vikings jerseys off their shelves on Friday.

Shaun Hagglund, owner of the store, said he didn't intend to make a statement by removing the Peterson jerseys. But he said it felt "odd having them out there with everything that was going on. I don't want to go so far as to say we're passing moral judgement on somebody...We just felt it kind of odd selling them, given everything that had happened coming off the Ray Rice thing and everything else. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Which isn't to say we'll never sell them again. They're just pulled indefinitely."

Ray Rice is the Baltimore Ravens player recently cut from that team after a graphic video emerged of Rice knocking unconscious his fiance, now wife, in a hotel elevator.

The Rice and Peterson controversies led beer giant and huge NFL sponsor Anheuser-Busch on Tuesday to say it was disappointed and increasingly concerned, adding: "We are not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league."

Gov. Mark Dayton also spoke out about the matter today. He called the incident a "public embarrassment" to the Vikings and to the state, and said that he hoped the Vikings would not have reinstated the star running back in the wake of his indictment.

Dayton said he remains a fan of the team and supported keeping them in Minnesota.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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