Ryan Braun loses endorsement
Embattled Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, suspended Monday without pay for the rest of the Major League Baseball season (65 games) for violating its drug program, was pulled Tuesday as an endorser for a convenience store chain.
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Braun was the face of a promotion for Kwik Trip, a privately owned brand of more than 400 stores based in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
But on Tuesday, Gary Gonczy, the company's director of marketing and advertising, told ESPN.com that Kwik Trip has stopped all television and radio commercials and that the company no longer would use Braun as a spokesman. The Brewers' star had been linked with the company for four years.
Kwik Trip was running a Ryan Braun Luncheon promotion where a winning entrant had a chance to bring one guest with him or her and have lunch with Braun at Ryan Braun's Graffito restaurant in Milwaukee. The company has pulled the promotion just 11 days before a winner was supposed to be announced. Gonczy said the Braun deal was arranged through a sports marketing company and that Kwik Trip expects to be paid back for the luncheon that no longer will be held.
Other companies that have relationships with Braun are in the evaluation stage.
Omar Shaikh, the president of SURG Restaurant Group, which owns Ryan Braun's Graffito restaurant and 8-Twelve MVP Bar and Grill, a sports bar with official deals with Braun and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, declined to comment about the status of his restaurants with Braun's name and number on them.
A spokesman for Nike, which has a contract with Braun, could not immediately be reached. One company that makes and sells his RB8 bat at retail, SAM BAT in Canada, says it will continue to do so.
"We've had a good relationship with Ryan and we don't anticipate that changing at this point," said Arlene Anderson, president of the company.