Nike cut ties with Neymar after employee accused soccer star of sex assault: report

Nike kicked Neymar to the curb after an employee at the shoe company accused the Brazilian soccer superstar of sexual assault.

The company cut the star’s endorsement deal short with eight years remaining last summer without public explanation as it was investigating the claim, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The worker, who filed her complaint in 2018, said that Neymar, 29, tried to force her to perform oral sex in his New York hotel room in 2016, where the accuser was coordinating events for the soccer star, according to the report.

The incident in question allegedly happened after the woman escorted the intoxicated star to his room after a night of celebration with Michael Jordan and other Nike employees at a Manhattan night club, the article said. Neymar denied the allegation.

The Nike 'swoosh' logo is displayed on the outside of the Nike SoHo store
The company cut Neymar’s endorsement deal short with eight years remaining.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” a spokeswoman reportedly said, adding the partnership ended over business differences.

Nike cut ties with the forward after he declined to cooperate in an internal investigation sparked by the accuser’s claim, the newspaper said.

“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.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar
Neymar was accused of sexual assault by an employee at Nike.

A public disclosure was not made because “no single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter. It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts,” Krane reportedly said.

Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., — the most expensive player in soccer history — signed with Nike when he was just 13 and was the face of the brand in South America.

Two weeks after severing ties with the company, he signed an endorsement deal with Puma. “Welcome to the fam @neymarjr #KingIsBack,” the German company tweeted in September.

Neymar has represented Nike around the globe, especially in Brazil, ever since he was a teenager.
John Berry/Getty Images

Neymar also has deals with Red Bull, Qatar Airways and PokerStars, among other companies, according to his website.

As Nike was investigating the worker’s allegations in 2019, Neymar was accused of rape at a Paris hotel.

The star denied the accusation, and accused the woman of extortion. The case was dropped, and the accuser was later charged with slander, extortion and fraud — charges that she was cleared of.

Nike continues to sponsor Neymar’s teams; Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian national team.

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