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By Jeff Nixon
Sep. 17, 2014

The fans and the public did not like the call.

They booed and booed, but nothing was going to happen until the “Sponsors” threw the red flag.

It’s a shame that it takes the loss of revenue to get the attention of the NFL and team owners - and to get them to do the right thing. But in the case of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the final decisions that were made were classic examples of how money talks.

In their decision to put Adrian Peterson on the Exempt list, Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said "While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian."

It’s no coincidence that their stunning reversal comes after the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings. Nike stores pulled Peterson's jerseys from its shelves and Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson.

Anheuser-Busch issued a strongly worded statement saying they were disappointed in the way the NFL was dealing with the Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's assault of his girl friend (now wife) and Peterson's arrest for child abuse.

Here’s a football analogy for what is currently happening to the NFL: Just like O.J. Simpson was the “Juice” and his offensive line was the “Electric Company” – The NFL is the juice and their sponsors are the electric company. If you screw up, the electric company will turn off your power - and without that, you are living in a cold, dark place. The NFL owners like where they are living right now and they don’t want to give up their lifestyles just yet.

So what really made the NFL and team owners have a change of heart?

"After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian," the Wilfs said. "We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization.”

I think their sponsors made them put some corrective lenses in their glasses to help them focus. 

It’s sad to think that money is the motivator behind almost everything the NFL does. Their reversal of decisions on player punishments has more to do with their image and their bottom line, than it has to do with making the right decisions.

The NFL’s sponsors used their money as leverage - and it was the right thing to do.

NFL players have a name for the person that comes to take away your money and end your pro football career. He’s called the “Turk” and he wields a mighty sharp axe. He has only one purpose – and it’s not to give you a clean shave. When he comes to your room at 6:00 am and says that the head coach wants to see you and then tells you to bring your playbook - the writing is on the wall. 

The NFL saw the writing and did not like what they read.

Now they’re backpedaling faster than Richard Sherman in their attempt to hold off the Turk.