Nike and Brazilian soccer star Neymar cut ties last year, a decision that reportedly stems from allegations that the Paris Saint-Germain forward sexually assaulted a Nike employee, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The report cites documents reviewed and people familiar with the situation that say Neymar tried to force a female employee to perform oral sex at a New York City hotel room in 2016. The woman told friends and colleagues about the incident and filed a complaint in 2018.
Nike and Neymar had a 15-year business relationship, which officially ended in 2020. The company hired an outside law firm to investigate the matter in 2019 and ultimately decided to stop featuring him in marketing campaigns.
In a statement to Wall Street Journal, Nike said its relationship with Neymar ended due to Neymar not cooperating with the investigation into the alleged assault. Neymar eventually signed with Puma.
“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,” Nike’s general counsel Hilary Krane said.
A spokesperson for Neymar denied the allegations in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
“Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” the spokesman said, saying the split was due to commercial reasons.
Neymar was accused of rape in Brazil in 2019, but the charges were dismissed by a judge citing lack of evidence. His accuser was later indicted for fraud and extortion.
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