The answer to that question gets a little bit blurry when you start talking about the newly crowned Superbowl XLIII MVP, Santonio Holmes. Sports Business Daily reported that Holmes’ history, which is marked by several criminal incidences, may make it difficult for sponsors to get behind the Pittsburgh Steeler WR.
Here is a brief re-cap of Santonio’s legal problems since being drafted. In May 2006, Holmes was arrested for disorderly conduct in Miami, but the charges were later dropped. The following month he was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, for domestic violence and assault. The charges were later dropped in this case as well. Then his record remained quiet for two years, until Holmes was arrested for possession of marijuana in October 2008. Even with these blemishes on his rap sheet, Holmes has come a long way from being the teenager who sold drugs in Belle Glade, Florida. I think the star receiver is making a legitimate attempt to clean up his image. A Los Angeles Times article from Tuesday noted that Holmes’ goal is to become a better example for the kids that now look up to him.
Holmes is represented by Joel Segal, President of BEST’s football division. I’m sure Segal is up to the task of figuring out how to handle this sticky situation. He was able to overcome the bad press Reggie Bush received after the accusation that he and his family had taken gifts during his tenure at USC, surfaced in the week leading up to the NFL Draft. Besides, Holmes wouldn’t be the first troublesome athlete that sponsors invested in. Just look at this week’s news and you’ll see that most of Michael Phelps’ sponsors are still backing him even after photos surfaced of the Olympic star smoking marijuana. As far as I’m concerned football is America’s sport, and Santonio Holmes just earned one of the most coveted awards in the game. I’m confident that some companies will jump at the chance to sponsor the MVP.