Neymar has released a statement about the sexual assault allegation made against him that led to Nike terminating its endorsement deal with the Brazilian soccer star in 2020.
In a post on Instagram, Neymar denied the allegation made by a Nike employee. The statement read, in part:
"Facts can be distorted because people see them from different angles. We cannot deny that life is like this. That's life!
"I was not given the opportunity to defend myself. I was not given the opportunity to know who this person was that was allegedly offended. I don't even know her. I've never had any kind of relationship or approach with this person. I didn't even have a chance to talk to her, to know the real reasons for her pain. That person, an employee, was not protected. I, a sponsored athlete, was not protected. Until when will this happen?
"Irony of fate I will continue to stamp a brand on my chest that betrayed me. That's life for you! I remain firm and strong, believing that time, always this cruel time, will bring the true answers. Faith in God!"
On Thursday, Khadeeja Safdar of the Wall Street Journal reported that Nike cut ties with Neymar last year following an investigation by the company into an allegation made by a female Nike employee who said he sexually assaulted her in 2016.
According to Safdar's report, the Nike employee told friends and colleagues "in 2016 that Neymar tried to force her to perform oral sex in his hotel room while in New York City where she was helping to coordinate events and logistics for Neymar and his entourage."
The employee filed a complaint with Nike two years after the alleged assault, and the company hired a law firm in 2019 to investigate the allegation.
Hilary Krane, Nike’s general counsel, told Safdar the company terminated Neymar's contract "because he refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee."
In 2019, a Brazilian woman accused Neymar of raping her in a Paris hotel, but police closed the case and no charges were filed due to a lack of evidence.
Neymar has had a merchandising deal with Nike since 2005 at the age of 13. He has been on Brazil's national team since 2010.
Since 2017, Neymar has been with Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.