PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Des Hague lost his job as CEO of concessionaire Centerplate after he was caught on camera kicking and choking his dog. The NFL isn't sad to see him go.
The National Football League doesn't hold any fondness for people who tarnish the league's all-things-to-all-people reputation, but it's even less enthusiastic about those who cost the league money. Back in April, Hague fell into neither category while speaking about Centerplate's menu plans for NFL stadiums including the Seattle's CenturyLink Field, San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, Washington's FedEx Field and the San Francisco 49ers' new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
In July, however, Hague was caught on camera in a hotel elevator repeatedly kicking his small Doberman Pinscher, 1-year-old Sade, and yanking her leash tightly enough to pick the dog off the ground.
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A hotel employee showed the footage to the media and the British Columbia office of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Hague issued an apology online and Centerplate vowed that he would donate $100,000 and 1,000 hours of community service to animal welfare, but more than 190,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling for his firing. On Sept. 2, Centerplate announced that Hague -- who is still facing charges related to abusing the dog -- is out and an acting CEO will be taking over.
No, the NFL didn't do anything publicly to spur Hague's departure, but the league had a few reasons to lean on Centerplate behind the scenes and force a change. For one, the NFL sent a clear message a week before Hague left that public sentiment and outcry have a tremendous influence on how it conducts business.
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When the league gave Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice only a two-game suspension for knocking his wife unconscious in a hotel elevator and being filmed by hotel cameras dragging her out of that elevator, it sparked an overwhelming public response that not only led to the suspension of ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith for blaming Rice's wife, but gave the impression that the league didn't care about female fans or their money. The NFL responded in late August -- roughly a week before the start of its regular season -- by implementing strict new penalties for domestic violence for both players and staff.