Maybe they've doing the NFL a favor by giving them an escape clause - maybe. Child advocate groups have closed ranks against the invitation by the NFL to Pete Townshend of the WHO - a former registered sex offender in the UK - to play the half-time show at the upcoming Super Bowl.
Media outlets all over the U.S., and indeed the world including Townshend's own country the UK, have carried the protests in headlines. Feedback from the public highlights two important issues: 1. Americans did not know about Townshend's sex offender status, 2. they are furious that the NFL would hire him for the primo family show of the year - 'livid' might be a better word. The American public have not developed a sense of understanding for sex offenders particularly where child porn is concerned.
The NFL and Bridgestone are however standing firmly behind their man, declaring that the show will go on with him under the spotlight. They even went as far as to publicly support Townshend's excuse of 'research' when he was caught accessing and paying for child pornography online. That support could well come back to bite them.
Townshend's worries are growing. The NFL and the Super Bowl sponsors have been sent disclosure documentations from Child AbuseWatch ( www.abusewatch.net ) that leave them in no doubt as to Townshend's confession of guilt which earned him his sex offender status. That leaves them in the position of knowingly hiring a sex offender.
This also puts the sponsors in the untenable position of supporting the NFL - or not. It's a simple 'we're in' or 'we're not.' Either way, NFL boss Roger Goodell has put them, and the NFL, in an embarrassing - humiliating - position.
If sponsors don't support the NFL, they will publicly demand that Goodell drop Townshend tout'd suite - they have no choice. If they do support the NFL and Townshend, the public will know that their most beloved brands supported the employment of child sex offender. No if, ands or butt.
One can't be too sure how consumer, the media and shareholders will react to that. I'll go out on a limb and guess that the reaction won't be rosy. Jobs could be lost at senior levels - we saw what happened with Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Fact is even someone looking for a job as a groundskeeper at Land Shark stadium wouldn't get hired with a sex offender status in his past; why then does Townshend?
Many things can be forgiven in the arena of rocks stars, even bands that are now run with the efficiency of corporations with aged - close to retirement - players. Drugs, violence, sex, mayhem, adultery, even murder can, through the rationalization of the rock 'n roll lifestyle, can be forgiven.
Association with child porn can't and never will. Child pornography is the kiss of death in America; a back hole from which there is no return. There is no forgiveness, no understanding, no rationalization for anyone - even a celebrity.
Despite the NFL and Bridgestone's blind support, Townshend is in trouble. Florida has strict laws about the treatment of anyone with a sex offender record including the demand that they register when entering the state.
A list of enforcement authorities have been notified of Townshend's arrival including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and ICE who have been asked to revoke Townshend's visa on his arrival into the U.S. due to his criminal record and his breaking of 'moral turpitude' laws. If they decide to enforce the law, particularly during the current round of criticism that they don't, he will be duly deported back to his airport of origin.
The Miami attorney general has also been notified and asked to enforce Florida law as it pertains to sex offenders. This could include Townshend's apprehension on his arrival at the airport in South Florida. At any time during Townshend's stay he could be taken into custody to face a charge of paying for child pornography in Texas, the state where the child porn web site was based when he used his credit card to access the images. There are so many law enforcement groups that he may run afoul of that he won't be able to breath a sign of relief until he sets foot back in the UK.
Then there is the American public. Will their outrage turn on the NFL and the Super Bowl's sponsors? Will Townshend be greeted with the booing that greeted the younger Simpson sister so long ago at a similar football event? Of course Townshend could do everyone a favor and suffer from 'exhaustion,' skipping the event entirely by replacing himself with his younger brother; it might let him, the sponsors and the NFL save face.
Time will tell. The problem is there's not much of it left between now and February 7.
Access Child AbuseWatch Townshend files
Latest media updates: Google ' townshend super bowl '