Sexual Assault Allegations Ended Neymar’s Deal With Nike

Another prominent athlete accused of doing terrible things

Neymar Jr of PSG during the Ligue 1 match between Stade Brestois 29 and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Stade Francis Le Ble.
John Berry/Getty Images

Last fall, news broke that Brazilian soccer star Neymar had signed a lucrative deal with Puma — one which paid significantly more than his previous deal with Nike. Now, more details have emerged as to what led to the rift between Neymar and Nike, and those details feel all too familiar in 2021. A new report by Ben Strauss at The Washington Post states that Nike stopped working with Neymar because he wouldn’t cooperate with an investigation into accusations of sexual assault. Confirming this account? Nike itself.

“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 company said via a statement.

At The Athletic, Matt Slater and Adam Crafton summarized the events that led to the break. Neymar is accused of sexually assaulting a Nike employee when he was in New York doing publicity for a new sneaker line in 2016. The woman told colleagues about it at the time and notified human resources and the company’s general counsel in 2018.

These events led to Nike opening an internal investigation into the matter in 2019. When Neymar wouldn’t participate, it resulted in the end of his relationship with Nike. To date, he has denied that he did anything wrong and maintained his innocence via public statements and social media.

Slater and Crafton’s explainer has a lot more to ponder, including the complexities of Nike continuing to make the jerseys for Neymar’s club and national teams and how an earlier allegation of rape against Neymar factors into this. It’s an unsettling account involving one of soccer’s most prominent players.

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