US sportswear giant Nike says it stopped working with Brazilian footballer Neymar because he “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.
A spokeswoman for Neymar said he denied the sexual assault and split with Nike last year for commercial reasons.
Neymar allegedly sexually assaulted a Nike employee in a New York City hotel room in 2016. After Neymar denied the allegations and refused to cooperate with the investigation, Nike cut ties with him last year, per @WSJ pic.twitter.com/AoLAG7T8Qw
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) May 28, 2021
“Neymar Jr will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” she told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper, which first reported the news.
Nike parted ways with Neymar in August 2020, ending one of its most high-profile sponsorship deals. The company gave no reason for the split at the time.
In its statement on Thursday, it said: “It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts.”
But it added: “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.”