Roy Gilbert

Nike Says It Ended Deal With Neymar Amid Investigation of Sexual Abuse

www.nytimes.com

Neymar signed a deal with Puma last year after his Nike contract ended prematurely. Credit…Benoit Tessier/Reuters Nike ended its sponsorship agreement with the Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar last year after he refused to participate in an investigation of an accusation that he had sexually assaulted a Nike employee, the company confirmed Thursday night.

Nike said its investigation did not reach a conclusion as to whether an assault had occurred, which was why it made no public statement at the time.

“No single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter,” Nike said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts. 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.”

The accusation of assault was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday night. Nike’s statement obtained by The New York Times matched comments made to The Journal by Hilary Krane, Nike’s general counsel.

A spokeswoman for Neymar, 29, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but denied the accusation to The Journal.

Nike first signed Neymar to a sponsorship agreement in 2005, when he was just 13 years old and playing for the youth team of Santos F.C., one of the biggest clubs in Brazil. The company continued sponsoring Neymar after he moved to F.C. Barcelona and then to Paris St.-Germain, establishing himself as one of […]

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