When Uruguay’s Luis Suárez sank his teeth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on Tuesday, he also may have taken a bite out of his own bank account.
As one of the world’s top footballers, Suárez has endorsement deals with several notable companies, at least one of which is now reconsidering their relationship with the 27-year-old. Such contracts often contain behavior clauses, which can invalidate an agreement if the player engaged in behavior which damages the company’s reputation.
888 Poker, an online gambling destination and one of Suárez’s top sponsors, revealed on Wednesday that it will evaluate its business dealings with the Uruguayan soccer star, who has now bitten opposing players on three separate occasions.
“Following recent allegations made against Luis Suárez, we are reviewing our relationship with him. We will not tolerate unsporting behavior,” the company wrote on its Twitter account. 888 Poker’s statement was released just five weeks after it announced that it had reached an agreement with Suarez.
The bite could also affect Suárez’s standing with Adidas, a sports apparel company with which he has a shoe contract. While Adidas has yet to comment on Tuesday’s biting incident, it previously condemned his behavior when he bit an opponent in 2013. “Adidas takes this type of incident very seriously and does not condone Luis Suárez’s behavior,” the company said at the time, according to the Guardian. “We will be reminding him of the standards we expect from our players.”
Suárez was prominently featured on Beats by Dre’s popular “The Game Before The Game” marketing campaign ahead of the 2014 World Cup. However, the headphones brand has yet to comment on Suarez’s on-field behavior.
Sponsor backlash against Suárez may depend on the extent to which he is punished by FIFA, which announced on Wednesday that it had opened “disciplinary proceedings” against the Liverpool striker. FIFA has the authority to ban Suárez from international matches for up to two years; a lengthy punishment would likely spur businesses associated with him to issue similar rebukes.
Meanwhile, Suárez dismissed the bite as a routine occurrence on the field of play. “We were both just inside the area, [Chiellini] struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well. These are things that happen on the pitch and you shouldn’t attach so much importance to them,” he told a Uruguayan television station, according to the Financial Times.
Suárez has to hope that his sponsors will view his bite in the same way, if only for the sake of his wallet.