NEYMAR

Neymar hits back at Nike: "I will continue to have to wear on my chest a brand that betrayed me”

Neymar has responded to Nike's claims it ended its partnership with the PSG star over his refusal to cooperate with a sexual assault probe against him.

Neymar hits back at Nike: "I will continue to have to wear on my chest a brand that betrayed me”
AFP7 vía Europa Press AFP7 vía Europa Press

Neymar has hit back at Nike after the sports apparel maker released a statement this week claiming it ended its partnership with the Brazil star last year because he refused to cooperate in an investigation into sexual assault allegations against him by a Nike employee.

Neymar has denied the allegations and in his latest comments claimed that Nike had not given him the opportunity to defend himself, adding that he “didn’t even know” the alleged victim.

"To say that my contract was terminated for not contributing in good faith is absurd, it is all a lie," Neymar, whose club, PSG, is sponsored by Nike, wrote on Instagram from Brazil’s training camp.

“They didn't give me the opportunity to defend myself. They did not give me the opportunity to find out who that person was who was offended.

“I don't even know her. I never had a relationship or the opportunity to talk to her and find out the true reasons for her pain. That person was not protected. I, a sponsored athlete, was not protected. The irony of fate: I will continue to have to wear on my chest a brand that betrayed me.”

Neymar during a training session at the Granja Comary training center, city of Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on May 27, 2021, ahead the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier matches against Ecuador and Paraguay.

Nike says investigation was inconclusive

In its statement on the incident this week following a report into the investigation by The Wall Street Journal, Nike said that while it viewed the allegations about the incident in 2016 as "credible", it believed the independent investigation it commissioned was inconclusive.

“No single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter. It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts,” the statement said.

Neymar's spokeswoman said the athlete would vigorously defend himself if any claim is presented, describing the allegations as baseless and adding that the endorsement deal ended for commercial reasons.

Following the WJS report, the player's father accused Nike of “blackmailing” his son and pointed to other stars - including Cristiano Roanldo and Kobe Bryant - who had faced similar accusations.