Nike ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Ronaldo Allegations

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Nike Ronaldo

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo faced growing pressure Thursday over a rape allegation, after Nike expressed concern about the conduct of the athlete, who has denied the accusations.

The sportswear brand indicated it is troubled by details emerging from a lawsuit filed last week in a Nevada state court by the accuser, who claims she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas, reports the Associated Press.

In an emailed statement to the AP, Nike says “we are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Nike has had a contract with Ronaldo, 33, one of the wealthiest and most famous soccer players in the world, since 2003. The latest sponsorship agreement, signed in 2016, is worth a reported $1 billion.

The Portugal player is also the face of the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise, appearing on the cover of the 2019 game that was released worldwide last week.

“We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo,” said EA Sports. “We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s team Juventus has expressed support for its star player.

However, according to Fumble, Portugal’s roster was just released for their upcoming games against Poland and Scotland, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s name was not included.

This isn’t the first time Nike has found itself in hot water with celebrity endorsements.

The brand signed former NFL quarterback Michael Vick as a spokesperson in 2001, but dropped him in 2007 after he filed a plea agreement admitting to taking part in a dogfighting ring.

Nike also had a long-term sponsorship deal with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. After the athlete was found guilty of using illicit drugs and perpetuating the cover-up for years, the brand even took Armstrong’s name off of a Beaverton, Oregon-based fitness facility.

Of course, last month Nike kicked off a campaign with controversial NFL star Colin Kaepernick, which kicked off protests almost as soon as it was released, with #NikeBoycott trending on Twitter. In the end, however, the bet paid off as Nike added $6 billion to its overall value.

 

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