The NFL has whistled Toyota Motor Corp. for a personal foul.
The professional football league asked the automaker to remove a scene depicting a helmet-to-helmet collision from a commercial that explained how Toyota software used to evaluate car crashes is being applied to football injuries.
"The overall tone and tenor of the spot was unfair," said Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman.
The commercials have aired since November in two forms, said Zoe Zeigler, a Toyota spokeswoman. Toyota places the edited version in NFL games and other NFL programming but continues to air the unedited version elsewhere.
The spot shows a mother driving a Toyota car and talking about how she worries for her son, who plays football. The woman explains that Wake Forest University is using software developed by the automaker to evaluate injuries in car accidents to examine football collisions.
The commercial then explains that Toyota makes its technology available to solve problems outside of the automotive world under what the automaker calls the "Ideas for Good" initiative. It shows a variety of football scenes, none involving NFL or professional players.
"It is not at all unusual for us to work with advertisers that feature football in their ads. Companies recognize the value of an association with the NFL. Toyota is a sponsor of several of our clubs and a major advertiser in our sport," McCarthy said.
He said the NFL did not like the way Toyota used the issue of sports-related concussions in an automobile advertisement.
Concussions have become a source of controversy in the NFL.
"It is unfortunate that the NFL was not pleased with the commercial," Zeigler said.