Anheuser-Busch, one of the NFL’s biggest sponsors, says it isn’t happy with the recent controversy that has engulfed the league.
The beer giant issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was “disappointed and increasingly concerned” by recent incidents and was not yet satisfied with the league’s response. It said it had shared its concerns and expectations with the NFL.
The league has come under fire for its handling of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s assault of his then-fiancee. The Minnesota Vikings have also been criticized for allowing Adrian Peterson to play while he faces a charge of abuse for spanking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.
Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship fees alone are worth an estimated $50 million a year, according to sponsorship consultancy IEG.
Union to file Rice appeal
NEW YORK — The players’ union on Tuesday will appeal the indefinite suspension the NFL handed to Ray Rice last week.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told The Associated Press on Monday “we are expecting to appeal before the deadline on Tuesday night.” That deadline is 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Rice originally was suspended two games under the NFL’s personal conduct policy for striking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. When videotape of that incident was made public and showed Rice punching his now-wife Janay, knocking her unconscious, the Baltimore Ravens released the running back.
Almost immediately after that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made Rice’s suspension indefinite.
Falcons LT Matthews returns
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons rookie left tackle Jake Matthews returned to practice after missing last week’s loss at Cincinnati with a sprained left ankle.
Coach Mike Smith said Matthews, the NFL’s sixth overall draft pick, participated fully in the 2-hour workout and should start Thursday when Tampa Bay visits the Georgia Dome.
Matthews’ improved health means that Gabe Carimi will likely start at right tackle with Lamar Holmes, who struggled badly against the Bengals, going to the bench.
Smith said he was not concerned that four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White has missed the last two days with a sore hamstring, adding that it’s unnecessary for a 10th-year veteran to practice on a short week if he’s hurting.
Receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and rookie linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) participated fully on Thursday.
Josh Gordon gets probation
RALEIGH, N.C. — A prosecutor said suspended Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon will receive probation and undergo a substance-abuse assessment after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge in North Carolina.
Acting Wake County district attorney Ned Mangum said Gordon received a 60-day suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation Tuesday.
The Pro Bowler is serving an NFL imposed season-long suspension for a failed marijuana test, though that could be reduced under proposed drug policy changes .
Injury-depleted Bucs prepare
TAMPA, Fla. — The winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves.
Less than 24 hours after losing to the St. Louis Rams on a late field goal, the Bucs (0-2) were back in meeting rooms on what normally would have been a day off for players — preparing for Thursday night’s game at Atlanta.
Injuries are mounting, with two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and middle linebacker Mason Foster the latest additions to the injury report. Having just three days to get ready for the Falcons won’t make the first road test of the season any easier.