By Alcohol Justice, Special for USDR.
In a new “Stories of Alcohol Justice” video released today, Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice, talks with Eason Ramson about his life and professional football career that ended when he spiraled into substance abuse, crime, and prison. “Eason fought his way back and does important work now with youth at the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA in San Francisco,” stated Livingston. “He’s committed to helping them overcome the influences that propelled him down a path of self-destruction.”
In the emotional video, Ramson describes hitting rock bottom fueled by peer pressure, alcohol, drugs and an indifferent sports league. He recovered with the help of San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh. Now Ramson empowers youth through his CARE Program and challenges the power of Big Alcohol in sports.
“Alcohol ads, sponsorships, and celebrity endorsements associated with sports are just wrong and should stop,” said Ramson. “Not just because they are designed to lure people to over-consume, but because they also perpetuate a social norm that tells kids alcohol consumption is a normal everyday part of life and strongly associated with sporting success. I’m here to say it’s just not true.”
Studies show that the more alcohol ads kids see, the better the chance they will drink and in many cases binge drink. The younger a person starts drinking, the bigger the probability that person will be a customer for life who will experience significant alcohol-related harm.
The billions Big Alcohol spends advertising alcohol during sporting events leads to increased underage drinking as well as turning fun filled family events into drunken, potentially violent experiences. “Millions of youth will see feel-good beer ads this Sunday with ponies, puppies and Pac-Man pitching Budweiser and Bud Light Beer at the biggest football game of the year with the largest worldwide youth audience,” said Livingston.
Even though the NFL has been ineffective in the biggest scandals of the year involving, drugs, alcohol and domestic violence, this year’s big game will still promote Budweiser products. Livingston added, “The ads will play, tens of millions will watch, and the NFL and Anheuser Busch-InBev will profit in total disregard for the negative effect that alcohol misuse plays in the lives of young viewers and players alike.”
“The only game plan that will work is to eliminate global alcohol advertising, sponsorships, branding and promotions from all sports – from college games to the NFL championship, from the World Series to the World Cup and Olympics,” Livingston concluded. “As far as I’m concerned, the true scandal this month is not #deflategate, it is #BudLightGate.”