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Radisson suspends Minnesota Vikings sponsorship

Adrian Peterson Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson has been charged with child abuse after spanking his son

The Radisson hotel chain says it is suspending its sponsorship of Minnesota Vikings, an American football team.

It comes after one of the team's players, Adrian Peterson, was charged with child abuse in Texas after hitting his son with part of a branch.

The Minneapolis team have reinstated the player after dropping him.

Meanwhile sponsors of the NFL as a whole have raised concerns about incidents of violence in the sport.

McDonald's, Visa, Anheuser-Busch and Campbell Soup Company have all issued statements urging the NFL to take "appropriate" action to deal with the incidents.

"We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come,'" the NFL said on Tuesday in response.

But Radisson is the first sponsor to pull their support from a team.

"Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances," the company said.

It added it "takes this matter very seriously, particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children".

Radisson's sponsorship includes a banner visible to viewers watching Vikings' news conferences.

The Minnesota Vikings said it had "respectfully honoured Radisson's request", a team spokesman said.

Discipline or abuse?

Mr Peterson stands accused of using part of a tree branch to spank his four-year-old son. The player says he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy.

"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," Mr Peterson said in a statement.

"I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury."

The Vikings dropped the player for Sunday's game but then reinstated him on Monday.

The team's general manager, Rick Spielman, said: "I understand that this is a very difficult thing to handle. But we also feel strongly as an organisation that this is disciplining a child.

"Whether it's an abusive situation or not, or whether he went too far disciplining, we feel very strongly that that is the court's decision to make, but we also understand the seriousness of abusing children as well.''

The charges against Mr Peterson come just days after another NFL star, Ray Rice, had his contract terminated after a video emerged in which he appeared to punch his wife.

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