It appears that the AB drama may never end.
This week, Antonio Brown lost a major endorsement deal with Nike, the largest seller of athletic apparel and footwear in the world. The news broke on Wednesday night when a spokesperson from Nike told The Boston Globe that “Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete.”
Although Nike refused to explain the reasoning behind the decision to drop AB, the statement came just days after Britney Taylor, Brown’s former physical service trainer, filed a lawsuit accusing the Patriots wide receiver of sexual assault and rape. For more info on the pending lawsuit, check out our post from last week.
Nike has not been the first sponsor to drop AB, and they probably will not be the last. Other sponsors, including Campbell’s, Pizza Hut, Pepsico, and Xenith, have already decided to disassociate from Brown.
Major brands typically do not have any issue getting out of endorsement deals because their contracts contain “moral clauses.” If drafted properly, these clauses can make it extremely easy for a company to drop an athlete who attracts controversy that damages their brand or the company’s brand. The clause may provide that the athlete doesn’t have to be proven guilty to be dropped; rather, it’s about the optics of the controversy, and here, the optics are far from great.
We will continue to report on this issue as it develops.