Will Cristiano Ronaldo's Sponsors Drop Him After Rape Allegations?
International soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is facing allegations of sexual assault and his biggest backers, Nike and Electronic Arts, Inc., commonly known as EA, are treading lightly. According to representatives, the companies haven't dropped the athlete from their respective superstar rosters, but they are making sure that customers know that they're aware of the situation and watching to see exactly what happens.
The BBC reports that Nike issued a statement after allegations from Kathryn Mayorga surfaced on Wednesday. Mayorga claims that Ronaldo raped her during a 2009 trip to Las Vegas. He denies the allegations.
"The MeToo movement and the women who have stood up and disclosed sexual assaults has given Kathryn a lot of courage," her lawyer, Leslie Stovall, said.
Nike, one of Ronaldo's biggest sponsors, said it would "continue to closely monitor the situation", the BBC notes. Ronaldo is one of the label's biggest names, with a contract that's reported to be $1 billion.
"We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation," a Nike representative said.
EA Sports, which also has a contract with Ronaldo, made similar comments. "We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo," a statement reads. "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." Ronaldo is currently on the cover of FIFA 19, one of the most popular sports video games in the world.
Save the Children, a nonprofit organization that partners with Ronaldo, said, "We are disheartened by the news report we’ve seen in the last 24 hours and are working to get more information."
Though he gets plenty of money from his actual job playing soccer for Italian team Juventus (he signed a contract that nets him more than $140 million over four years), his net worth, according to Money, is about $400 million.
Juventus issued a response on Twitter, writing, "Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus."
Back in 2009, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Mayorga filed a police report in Las Vegas after the incident. The magazine adds that she reached an agreement with Ronaldo's legal team for a settlement of $375,000 and agreed never to go public with her allegations.
"At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description," a statement said. "As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided."
Ronaldo has responded to the allegations as well, saying, "Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense."
The player's legal team has said that it plans to take action against the magazine.