Nike Ends Relationship with Ryan Braun Amid Biogenesis Scandal

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIAugust 2, 2013

In addition to being hit with a 65-game suspension and missing the remainder of the 2013 MLB season, Milwaukee Brewers superstar Ryan Braun lost a major sponsor in Nike on Friday.

ESPN.com's Darren Rovell broke the news of Braun's contract being terminated in the wake of his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs scandal. KeJuan Wilkins, a Nike spokesman, confirmed that Braun and Nike no longer have a relationship.

The 29-year-old left fielder has been wearing Nike baseball cleats and batting gloves for all seven years of his major league career, according to Rovell. Also noted in the report is that Nike recently began rolling out Braun T-shirts in its stores, with sayings like "Big Bat Like Braun" and "Braun Owns Milwaukee."

It is the latest in a long line of endorsement deals that Braun has lost, including associations with Muscle Milk and Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip. Nike is undoubtedly the most notable sponsor to sever its ties with the 2011 National League MVP, though.

Braun's brand had already been damaged significantly by his decision to take performance-enhancing drugs, and this move from Nike is just another serious knock on his image. To get back into good graces with sponsors and baseball fans alike, Braun clearly has a lot of work to do.

In 61 games this season for the Brewers, the five-time All-Star batted .298 with nine home runs and 38 RBI.

The Braun saga makes what has already been a tough season in Milwaukee even more trying. The Brewers sit last in the NL Central division with a 46-62 record entering Friday's home game against the Washington Nationals.

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