Nike has suspended the contract of Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee “Blade Runner” who has been accused of murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
“We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process,” Nike said in a statement on its website, “and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
At his bail hearing, Pistorius said he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her in the early-morning hours in his home in Pretoria, South Africa. One Nike ad featuring Pistorius and the line “I am the bullet in the chamber” was quickly removed from the athlete’s website shortly after he was charged with murder last week.
Nike has sponsored Pistorius, a double amputee, since 2007, supplying clothes and the soles he wears at the end of his carbon-fiber blades.
Pistorius’s deal with Oakley was suspended earlier this week and Clarins dropped him from its Thierry Mugler fragrance ads “out of respect and compassion for the families involved.”
Endorsements usually are the first things to go when an athlete is accused of a crime, cheating or poor behavior. Nike dropped Lance Armstrong last October after he was banned for life from competition over doping allegations. Nike stood by Tiger Woods, although many other sponsors did not, when he admitted to infidelity and sex addiction that cost him his marriage. Since then, endorsement deals have returned for Woods.
H/T Daily Beast
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