Nike & Neymar Split After Employee Alleged Sexual Assault: Report
Neymar had faced an allegation of rape in 2019, but it was dismissed in August of that year on lack of evidence.
Sportswear giants Nike cut off ties with the Brazilian superstar Neymar after an employee levelled allegations of sexual assault against the footballer.
The employee had filed a complaint in 2018 and Nike hired external investigators in 2019, before deciding to stop working with Neymar, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The report, citing people in the know, stated that the female employee told friends and colleagues that Neymar had tried to force her to have oral sex with him in his hotel room while in New York City for a Nike event in 2016. Neymar at the time was a Barcelona player.
The Brazilian superstar had been facing an allegation of rape in 2019, but that had been dismissed in August of that year on lack of evidence.
The 15-year relationship between Neymar and Nike officially ended in 2020, with him signing a deal with Puma.
Nike had not given a reason for the split at the time. The Journal reported that he still had eight years remaining on his marketing contract with Nike when they separated.
However, in a statement to the Journal, Nike said the split was due to Neymar not cooperating with the investigation following the alleged assault.
"Nike ended its relationship with the athlete because he refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee," Hilary Krane, Nike's general counsel, told the Journal.
A spokesman for Neymar denied that the allegation was the cause for the split.
"Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far," the spokesman told the Journal, adding that the split was due to commercial reasons.
Paris Saint-Germain are yet to comment on the matter.
Neymar started off his association with Nike at age 13, before becoming a professional player in Brazil and then a star in Europe. He went on to become the most expensive footballer in the history of the game when Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona a transfer fee of about USD 260 million for him in 2017.
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