As reported yesterday here on WPN, former major league MVP Ryan Braun was recently slapped with a 65-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. While it has not been explicitly revealed just what Braun did to go against the policy, that is not stopping companies from pulling out of their endorsement deals.
Until recently Braun was the face of Kwik Trip, a company that operates over 400 stores in the tri-state area of Iowa, Minnesota, and his team’s home state of Wisconsin. Braun had been the company’s spokesman for four years, but the suspension proved to be too much to allow him to remain the face of the business.
All commercials and other advertisements bearing Braun’s face have been removed and the company has also announced the cancellation of a contest that would have allowed a winner to have lunch with Braun at a Wisconsin area restaurant.
Other companies that have deals with Braun, including restaurant groups and sports giant Nike, are currently evaluating their options before they announce whether or not they plan to stick with the besieged slugger.
Braun losing endorsements is nothing new. In the recent past Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong experienced similar obstacles in the face of controversy. Unfortunately for Braun, his tale leans more toward Armstrong, whose reputation will likely never recover since his deeds directly involved the sport he excelled in and, at least to some, invalidated his position as sports idol.
The one silver lining for Braun is that Canadian company SAM BAT says that it will continue to produce and sell his signature RB8 bat. Company president Arlene Anderson went on record saying “We’ve had a good relationship with Ryan and we don’t anticipate that changing at this point.”
However, it is likely that SAM BAT will prove to be the exception as more details about Braun’s suspension come to light.