Five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova was one of the lucky ones. After Sharapova tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in January, Nike suspended its commercial relationship with her. Even though the International Tennis Federation banned her from playing tennis for two years Wednesday, Nike lifted its own suspension, saying she unintentionally violated the federation’s rules. She had used the medication for almost 10 years before it was added to the list of banned substances Jan. 1 of this year.
Of course, not everybody has been as fortunate as the Russian superstar has been in this case. Here are a handful of athletes who lost out on money from the big sports-apparel brand:
1. Ray Rice. The Baltimore Ravens’ former running back bid farewell to his Nike endorsement after he was caught abusing his then-fiancée and now-wife, Janay Palmer, in February 2014. Video of him apparently knocking her out in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator and then dragging her unconscious body went viral online.
2. Oscar Pistorius. The Paralympics runner from South Africa was touted as an inspiration when he competed at the London 2012 Summer Olympics on two prosthetic legs, but his reputation was soon tarnished. He fatally shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day the following year. Nike swiftly dropped its deal with him.
3. Michael Vick. Nike deep-sixed its agreement with him back when he was the Atlanta Falcons quarterback in 2007. But the brand renewed its relationship with him in 2011 after he served his prison sentence in a dogfighting case and returned to play in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
4. Lance Armstrong. Nike was just one of the endorsements the Livestrong ex-chairman lost when it was discovered he used illegal substances to win his Tour de France titles. “It is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” the company said in 2012. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.” Armstrong had worked with Nike for a decade before they parted ways.
5. Johnny Manziel. Nike terminated its contract with the Cleveland Browns’ former quarterback after he became a free agent following the 2015 NFL season. He had signed with the company in March 2014.
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