According to the story, first reported in the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, the press conference was held to promote his new team, called the Atletico Mineiro, of which Pepsi is a sponsor. Atlanta-based Coke, however, had a $750,000 sponsorship deal with Ronaldinho, which was scheduled to run through 2014. Accordingly, his “reasoning” didn’t float well back at Coca-Cola headquarters.
“The fact that the player has appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Coca-Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes was quoted as saying. He added, “The sponsorship had become embarrassing.”
The fact that Ronaldinho’s name has recently generated more negative news than positive was not helpful either. After suing for unpaid wages, he left his previous Brazilian club, Flamengo. Then a counter-suit was launched by Flamengo, which is still to be settled in a Brazilian court.
Add to that the fact that, back in May, Flamengo’s biggest fan group posted a letter on its website accusing Ronaldinho of being unprofessional for his conduct at parties and nightclubs.
Little wonder, then, that when Ronaldinho drank a can of Pepsi at a press conference promoting his new team, Coke had simply had enough. In this case, at least, the motto was not “Always.”
It strikes me that there are obvious lessons here for Christians. We have been called to honor God in our lives. This means we must be careful in how we live. Because of this, we must also be very careful with what and with whom we choose to associate. Simply put: our identity is wholly tied up in our relationship to Jesus Christ; and He has a right to expect us no to behave in such a way that this identity is paramount. May we be faithful to do just that.