Nike have announced they sacked Neymar last year after he ‘refused to cooperate’ in an internal sexual assault investigation involving himself and an employee.
The PSG star had a lucrative £78.6m sponsorship deal with Nike, which was due to run until 2022, but ended his partnership with the American brand last September before signing a money-spinning deal to become the new face of Puma.
Nike did not disclose a reason at the time for dropping Neymar, who they had first signed as a 13-year-old, but have now revealed the early end to their endorsement deal came about following an investigation into allegations that the 29-year-old had sexually assaulted a female employee.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nike employee alleged that in 2016 Neymar attempted to force her to perform oral sex in his hotel room while in New York City for a promotional event and after taking off his underwear had tried to block her from leaving the room before chasing her down the hallway
Neymar, 29, has denied the allegations against him. ‘Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen 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 lodged an official complaint to Nike in 2018 before the sportswear giant launched an internal investigation into the allegations the following year.
They hired independent lawyers to conduct interviews with witnesses and reportedly decided to stop featuring Neymar in their marketing campaigns amid the probe.
Nike confirmed the investigation was ‘inconclusive’ but parted ways with Neymar after he ‘refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee’.