By Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Mastercard canceled an advertising campaign with football (soccer) striker Neymar during the Copa América championship. The company was to conduct a series of publicity events featuring the player but decided to suspend them after he became the target of rape and assault charges.
In contact with the newspaper Estado de São Paulo, the company confirmed the withdrawal of the campaign.
A picture of Neymar in a Mastercard campaign is featured in the official press handbook produced for the Copa América and handed out to accredited journalists covering the competition. At its very beginning, the player is posing for a photo dressed in a Mastercard branded shirt. Both the CBF shield and the championship’s official logo are found within the handbook.
Before Mastercard’s decision, other sponsors of the player had voiced concern over the allegations of assault and rape against the striker. Nike said it was “deeply” concerned with the case and stated it was closely monitoring the situation. Red Bull had also spoken out on the matter. “It is the public authorities’ responsibility to determine the facts behind this serious allegation,” read the company’s statement.
The player left the Brazilian national team on June 6th, after suffering a right ankle injury during a friendly match against Qatar in Brasília the night before. On Friday, Neymar must testify in Rio de Janeiro on the alleged crime committed by broadcasting nude photos of model Najila Trindade, the woman accusing him of rape and assault, without her consent.