Gradually a bunch of cricketers have started promoting alcohol by doing commercials. Yuvaraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and others have already done that with Royal Stag (Seagram India). The latest is the 26Cr deal signed by team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the Vijay Mallaya's UB Group, valued at over Rs. 8cr a year.
This deal puts Mahi at par with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in the endorsement space, just behind Aamir Khan, who early this year signed a record Rs 30-crore deal with telecom operator Etisalat. Dhoni is expected to directly endorse McDowell soda (which of course is the known surrogate for the same branded blended whiskey). But the integrated deal is expected to go beyond just the endorsements.
A large part of a celebrity's income is from endorsements, which of course come their way if they are in form or are producing movie hits. The interesting thing to note here is that younger children perhaps constitute the largest fan base for cricketers and Dhoni has got to have one of the largest fan followings. Given that, one could and should ask how much of what a celebrity endorses impacts a young mind. How appropriate then (morally) is it for cricketers to endorse alcohol?