Neymar Jr ‘refused to cooperate in a sexual assault inquiry involving himself and an employee in 2021.
The PSG star had a hefty £78.6 million sponsorship agreement with Nike that was set to expire in 2022. But he canceled his deal with the American company in September 2022, securing a new lucrative deal to become the face of Puma.
Why did Neymar break his deal with Nike?
Nike did not give a reason for withdrawing Neymar, whom they had signed as a 13-year-old, at the time. But the company has now disclosed that the early termination of their sponsorship relationship was due to an inquiry into claims that the 30-year-old had sexually assaulted a female colleague.
In 2016, a woman made allegations against Neymar for sexual assault. She revealed that she was asked to plan events and logistics for Neymar and his entourage. However, she pointed out that the Brazilian footballer forced her into oral sex in a New York City hotel room. She even attempted to flee, but Neymar restrained her by physically stopping her.
Neymar denied the allegations made by the employee against him. His lawyer said, “Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far”.
Nike confirmed the inquiry was “inconclusive,” but terminated Neymar’s contract
The contract between Neymar and Nike was terminated after the Brazilian star “refused to engage in a good faith examination of credible claims of malfeasance by an employee”.
A statement from Nike read: “Nike was deeply disturbed by sexual assault allegations made by one of our own employees against Neymar Jr”.
“The alleged incident occurred in 2016 and was officially reported to Nike in 2018. The employee came forward to share her experience in a forum created by Nike leadership to afford a safe environment in which current and former employees could confidentially share their experiences and concerns.”
Neymar’s other rape allegations
Model Najila Trindade claimed that the football star raped her in a hotel room in Paris. But prosecutors dropped the case due to a lack of evidence. Neymar claimed he paid for her trip to France and that they had consensual sex before she returned to Brazil and accused him of assaulting her.
Neymar rejected the charges, and in September 2019, authorities in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo accused Trindade of fraud, extortion, and defamation.