Verizon maintains NFL partnership

The CEO of Verizon, the NFL's largest sponsor, said his company would continue its endorsement of the NFL despite the league's clumsy handling of recent domestic violence incidents involving its players.

In a post published to his LinkedIn page, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam wrote that Verizon and the NFL would be better off if his company helped the league through its issues rather than end the partnership.

"We intend to use our leverage and leadership to keep the dialogue going on an issue that's been tucked behind closed doors for way too long, and we'll continue to work with our partners at the NFL to be a voice for change and a force for good, not just in the league but in our society as a whole," McAdam wrote.

Verizon is in the second year of a four-year extension that gives it the right to stream games on its mobile phones, a right for which the company pays $250 million annually. The amount trumps the sponsor-rights fees paid by Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi, which spend $200 million and $100 million a year, respectively.

McAdam said that since 2001, the company has donated more than $77 million and 180,000 cellphones to domestic violence organizations and that it has "developed a deep reservoir of practical knowledge" that has allowed it to help "educate the public, empower victims and survivors and change the behaviors that lead to domestic violence in the first place."

"In my view," McAdam wrote, "the answer to this widespread culture of denial around domestic violence in our society is more engagement, not less."

In the letter, McAdam reaffirmed that his company, which has been the league's official wireless service sponsor since 2010, would keep its association and that it was already helping the league in assisting it with implementing programs that seek to reduce incidents.

Said McAdam: "Because of our long-standing commitment to the issue, we believe we can be far more effective in preventing domestic violence by remaining in the arena with our partners at the NFL, rather than backing away from the controversy."

On Wednesday, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been indicted in Texas on child abuse charges, and Carolina Panthers defensive Greg Hardy, who is appealing a domestic violence conviction, were put on the commissioner's exempt permission list. They will both receive their full salaries but are not eligible to play pending their legal situations. And early Thursday, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was released after a night in jail after his arrest on aggravated assault charges involving his wife and young son. The Cardinals immediately deactivated him from all team activities.

Earlier this month, the NFL suspended formerBaltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice indefinitely after initially giving him a two-game suspension following the release of video showing him punching his then-fiance and now-wife, Janay, in an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator.

The NFL has commissioned an investigation of how it handled the Rice incident. Former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee the project and will publicly release the findings.

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