The multinational Nike confirmed this Friday that it broke with the Brazilian footballer of Paris Saint Germain, Neymar, for not cooperating in the investigation of the complaint of an employee of the firm who claimed to have suffered a sexual assault by the player.
Nike confirmed to EFE an information published this Friday by the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, which disclosed that the end of the sponsorship contract with the sports equipment manufacturer in August last year was due to that reason.
“Nike terminated its relationship with the athlete because he refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation into credible allegations of misconduct by an employee,” said a company statement.
When the company announced its break with the Paris Saint-Germain attacker, it did not disclose the reasons for that decision.
According to the complaint, the events occurred in 2016, when the soccer player was in New York and the employee went to his hotel room to coordinate events and logistics. Neymar tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, the newspaper relates.
The employee filed a complaint in 2018 within a forum created by Nike to allow company workers to “share experiences and concerns,” Nike added in its statement.
The company added that, although it was willing to investigate the alleged incident, the complainant initially preferred that there be no investigation, although in 2019 she changed her mind and expressed her desire to continue with the investigation.
According to the WSJ, Nike hired in 2019 the services of a law firm to investigate the complaint and decided to stop presenting Neymar at commercial events while that process lasted. But Neymar refused to cooperate with the investigators.
“The investigation was not conclusive,” Nike said, since no conclusive facts or evidence was found and it cannot issue charges “without offering supporting facts.”
A spokeswoman for Neymar rejected the newspaper categorically those accusations and assured that the termination of the contract with Nike was due to commercial reasons.
The two parties had a long contractual relationship, which began when the Brazilian was 13 years old and was already a promising youngster in the Santos youth ranks.
The 29-year-old footballer was already accused in 2019 of rape by a Brazilian model, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted in a Paris hotel.
The PSG striker assured then that it was a consensual relationship. Finally, the Brazilian authorities, the country where the case was raised, filed that complaint.
For now, the footballer has not disclosed any reaction to this information on his social networks or his website.