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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Nike Says It Ended Deal With Neymar Amid Investigation of Sexual Abuse

A spokeswoman for Neymar, 29, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but denied the accusation to The Journal.

Nike first signed Neymar to a sponsorship agreement in 2005, when he was just 13 years old and playing for the youth team of Santos F.C., one of the biggest clubs in Brazil. The company continued sponsoring Neymar after he moved to F.C. Barcelona and then to Paris St.-Germain, establishing himself as one of the world’s best and most popular players. But he switched allegiances to Puma in 2020, without an explanation for leaving Nike before his contract had expired.

In 2018, a longtime employee filed a complaint to Nike, according to The Journal, which cited documents it reviewed and unnamed people familiar with the investigation. According to The Journal, the complaint said that during a marketing tour in the United States in June 2016, the woman helped Neymar, who appeared to be drunk, into his hotel room after midnight. While there, Neymar tried to force the woman to perform oral sex and blocked her from leaving the room, the complaint said, according to The Journal.

The woman asked Nike about the status of her complaint in 2019, The Journal reported. The company, which believed the woman had not wanted it to take any action on it, according to Nike’s statement, hired an outside law firm to perform an investigation. While representatives for Neymar denied the accusation to the law firm, according to the Journal, he refused to personally be interviewed, prompting the termination of his sponsorship agreement.

Around the same time in 2019, Neymar was accused of raping a Brazilian model, Najila Trindade, whom he had flown to Paris. He said they had consensual sex, and he published a number of explicit messages he had exchanged with Trindade on social media, resulting in a backlash against Neymar and many of his sponsors.

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