Warning: This news story contains information some readers may find distressing.
Nike says it parted ways with Neymar Jr over sexual assault allegations, BBC reports.
The Brazilian footballer is accused of sexually assaulting a Nike employee in 2016. The incident was first reported to Nike in 2018. The sportswear brand says it was “deeply disturbed” by the claims and that the independent investigation that was conducted following the allegations was inconclusive because Neymar "refused to co-operate in a good faith.”
Nike and Neymar's partnership ended in August 2020 and no reason was given at the time. The brand states the reason for this was an initial desire to keep the matter confidential. The third-party investigation began a year after the claim was first made, and after the alleged victim expressed an interest in pursuing it.
Nike said: “We continue to respect the confidentiality of the employee and also recognize that this has been a long and difficult experience for her.” However, it also added that it is not accusing Neymar of assault. “It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts.”
This is not the first time Neymar has been accused of sexual violence. In 2019, he faced rape allegations pitted against him by Brazilian model Najila Trindade, who said he attacked her in a hotel in Paris, France. He denied the allegations and claimed he was being extorted.
The news was first broken by the Wall Street Journal, which published a statement from Neymar’s representatives denying the claims. (We will not publish the statement for reasons we explain here, but the main takeaway is that it's extremely scary to publicly stand up against powerful, wealthy men, and we do not condone any language that could be conceived as gaslighting.)
Neymar currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain. He is currently the most expensive football player in the world.
The pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home regulations have led to an increase in domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (US) and National Domestic Abuse Helpline (UK) to find out how to get help. You are not alone.