Last year, soccer superstar Neymar stunned the sports world when he left Nike after 15 years of being partners to go sign a lucrative deal with Puma. While the move seemed to have came out of nowhere for Neymar at the time, it turns out that it was Nike who severed ties with the soccer star.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Nike ended its relationship with Neymar following an investigation into an allegation by a Nike employee that he had sexually assaulted her. They say Neymar refused to cooperate with the investigation, and therefore was dropped.

Nike ended its relationship with the athlete because he refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee,” said Hilary Krane, Nike’s general counsel, to the WSJ.

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Of course, Neymar, through his spokesperson, denied the allegations and say the split occurred for commercial reasons. “Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” she said in a statement.

The alleged incident happened in 2016 when a woman told friends and Nike colleagues that Neymar tried to force her to perform oral sex in his New York City hotel room while she was helping coordinate events and logistics for him and his entourage. A formal complaint was filed to Nike in 2018, describing the alleged incident to the company’s head of human resources and general counsel. Lawyers at Cooley LLP were hired by Nike to conduct an investigation in 2019, when Nike decided to stop featuring Neymar in marketing.

[Via]