Nike says it cut ties with Neymar over sexual assault investigation

PSG star Neymar (Photo: Yahoo Sports)

When Nike ended its sponsorship with football star Neymar in 2020 it gave no reason for its decision.

But now the sportswear giant is saying it’s because Neymar “refused to co-operate in a good faith investigation” into an allegation of sexual assault against an employee.

The alleged incident happened in 2016 and was reported to Nike in 2018.

Nike said its investigation was inconclusive.

In a statement released on Thursday, Nike said: “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 co-operate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee,” it added.

However, a spokeswoman for Neymar said he denied the sexual assault and that his split with Nike last year was for commercial reasons.

“Neymar Jr will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,”Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper, reports her as saying.

But Nike said the employee reported the allegations in 2018. The employee, who has not bein named wanted to avoid an investigation and keep it confidential at first. However, the company said it commissioned an independent investigation into the matter the following year, when she expressed an interest in pursuing it.