The Wall Street Journal has published an article claiming that Nike ended their relationship with Neymar last year after a former employee accused the football star of sexual assault.
Recall that Neymar shocked the sports world last August when he ended his business realtionship with the company. He went on to sign a good endorsement with Puma, but now, new report claims that a controversy led to the end of that Nike relationship.
According to documents reviewed by Nike ended its relationship with Neymar following an investigation into an allegation by a Nike employee that he had sexually assaulted her. She allegedly told friends and Nike colleagues in 2016 that Neymar tried to force her to perform oral sex in his New York City hotel room while she was helping coordinate events and logistics for him and his entourage. A formal complaint was filed to Nike in 2018, describing the alleged incident to the company’s head of human resources and general counsel. Lawyers at Cooley LLP were hired by Nike to conduct an investigation in 2019, when Nike decided to stop featuring Neymar in marketing.
Through his spokeswoman, Neymar denied the allegation. “Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” she said in a statement. She also claims that Nike and Neymar split for commercial reasons.
“Sources close to the situation claimed that the Brazilian football star refused to cooperate with the investigation, and that the probe hadn’t been completed when the partnership ended.
“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,” said Hilary Krane, Nike’s general counsel, to the WSJ.
Neymar’s spokeswoman said the two sides had been in discussions since 2019. “It is very strange a case that was supposed to have happened in 2016, with allegations by a Nike employee, come to light only at that moment,” she said.