Nike announced they fired Neymar last year after he “refused to cooperate” in an internal investigation into sexual assault involving himself and an employee.
The PSG star had a lucrative £ 78.6 million sponsorship deal with Nike that would run until 2022, but ended his partnership with the US brand last September before signing a cash-making deal to become Puma’s new face.
Nike did not disclose a reason at the time to drop Neymar, who they had first signed as a 13-year-old, but have now revealed that the early end of their endorsement deal came about following an investigation into allegations that the 29-year-old had sexually assaulted a female employee.
Neymar was banned by Nike after ‘refusing to cooperate’ in a sexual assault investigation following allegations against him by an employee
The Brazilian superstar was signed by Nike as a 13-year-old and his £ 78.6 million sponsorship deal with them was to be two more years before they split up last year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nike employee claimed that in 2016, Neymar tried to force her to have oral sex in his hotel room while in New York City for a promotional event and, after taking off his underwear, tried to prevent her from leaving the room before chasing her.
Neymar, 29, has denied the allegations against him. Neymar Jr. will defend itself vigorously against these baseless attacks in case a claim is made, which has not happened so far, ‘his spokeswoman said in a statement.
She also added that Neymar and Nike had ended their 16-year association for commercial reasons.
The employee filed an official complaint with Nike in 2018 before the sportswear giant launched an internal investigation into the allegations the following year.
They hired independent attorneys to conduct witness interviews and reportedly decided to stop using Neymar in their marketing campaigns amid the probe.
Neymar signed a money-making deal with Puma after his partnership with Nike ended prematurely
Nike confirmed the investigation was “inconclusive,” but said goodbye to Neymar after “declining to cooperate in a good faith investigation into credible allegations of employee misconduct.”
A statement from Nike read: “ Nike was deeply concerned by allegations of sexual assault by one of our own employees against Neymar Jr.
The alleged incident occurred in 2016 and was officially reported to Nike in 2018. The employee came forward to share her experience in a forum set up by Nike leadership to create a safe environment in which current and former employees could share their experiences and concerns in confidence.
From the outset, we have handled the employee’s allegations and her experience with great seriousness.
When the employee first communicated her allegations to Nike leadership in 2018, she did so only with guarantees of confidentiality.
While Nike was at the time prepared and ready to conduct an investigation, Nike respected the employee’s initial desire to keep this matter confidential and avoid an investigation.
Neymar is pictured with Michael Jordan (right) at a promotional event in New York in 2016
As her employer, we had a responsibility to respect her privacy and did not consider it appropriate to share that information with law enforcement or a third party without the employee’s consent.
‘In 2019, when the employee later showed interest in continuing the business, we acted immediately. Nike has conducted an independent investigation and has engaged individual, independent legal counsel for the employee at the Company’s option and expense.
The investigation was inconclusive. No 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.
Nike ended the relationship with the athlete for refusing to cooperate in a good faith investigation into credible allegations of employee misconduct.
PSG attacker Neymar has denied the allegations against him, while his spokeswoman said the approval deal with Nike has been terminated for commercial reasons.
“We continue to respect the employee’s confidentiality and also recognize that this has been a long and difficult experience for her.”
After breaking up with Nike, Neymar signed the largest individual sponsorship deal in the sport, with his shoe deal with Puma reportedly worth a whopping £ 23 million.
Neymar was charged with rape in 2019 but was cleared of all wrongdoing.
Model Najila Trindade claimed the football superstar raped her in a Pairs hotel room, but prosecutors dropped the case due to lack of evidence.
Neymar said he paid for her trip to France and that they had sex before Mrs. Trindade returned to Brazil and went to a police station to accuse him of assaulting her.
Neymar denied the allegations and police in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo accused Trindade of fraud, extortion and defamation in September 2019.
Nike split with Neymar after investigating sexual assault, which they said was inconclusive