PepsiCo's Nooyi criticizes NFL player behavior, but supports Goodell

One of the world's most prominent businesswomen issued a statement in support of besieged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday night, but chastised the league for "repugnant" player behavior.

PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi
PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi

With the media looking to see how a prominent female executive would respond to the spate of domestic violence incidents plaguing the National Football League, Indra Nooyi, the CEO of longtime NFL sponsor PepsiCo, stepped up Wednesday night.

Nooyi called the behavior of some NFL players "repugnant" and noted the league headquarters "acknowledged mishandling" cases of violence against women and children in recent weeks.

However, in the full statement, Nooyi signaled support for embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has faced calls for his resignation from columnists and the National Organization for Women in recent weeks.

"Given PepsiCo’s long-standing partnership with the NFL, I know Roger Goodell," she said in the statement released Wednesday night. "We have worked together for many years. I know him to be a man of integrity, and I am confident he will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing."

Goodell has also faced criticism for his lack of public appearances and media interviews since sitting down with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell last Wednesday. That Q&A preceded a report that law-enforcement personnel sent NFL officials a tape of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée, despite the league’s claims to the contrary.

Former Anheuser-Busch sports marketing chief Tony Ponturo told CNBC on Wednesday that Goodell should take the opposite approach and tell the full story of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice incident and other domestic abuse cases.

In the latest domestic violence incident involving one of the league’s players, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday night.

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