US sportswear giant Nike has said it has suspended its partnership with Brazilian soccer player Neymar because it “refused to cooperate in a sincere investigation” of allegations of sexual assault against employees.
The alleged case occurred in 2016 and was reported to Nike in 2018.
Nike said the investigation was inconclusive.
A Neymar spokeswoman denied sexual assault and said he split up with Nike last year for commercial reasons.
“Neymar Jr. vigorously defends against these unfounded attacks in the event of any unprecedented claim.” She told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which first reported the news.
Nike broke up with Neymar in August 2020 and ended one of its most famous sponsorship agreements. At that time, the company did not reveal the reason for the split.
“It is inappropriate for Nike to make a condemnation statement without providing supporting facts,” he said in a statement Thursday.
But it added, “Nike has terminated its relationship with the athlete because it refused to cooperate in a sincere investigation of credible allegations of misconduct by employees.”
Nike said employees reported suspicions in 2018, but initially wanted to avoid investigation and keep it secret. The following year, she said she had asked for an independent investigation into the matter. Showed interest in pursuing.
The name of the alleged victim was not disclosed, but Nike said, “We continue to respect the confidentiality of our employees and recognize that this has been a long and difficult experience for her.”
Neymar is now Played in Paris Saint-Germain, France.
He previously denied rape accusations in 2019. If it is finally dropped.