Nike running away from Oscar Pistorius as double amputee Olympian is charged with premeditated murder in South Africa
Nike and other corporate sponsors are running away from "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympian who South African prosecutors charged with premeditated murder on Tuesday.
A Nike spokesman told The Associated Press that the Oregon sportswear company had no plans to use Pistorius, who is accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in future advertising campaigns.
The company has already pulled an ad that shows Pistorius, breaking out of the starting block, with a tagline that says, "I am the bullet in the chamber."
Prosecutors said on Tuesday that Pistorius fired four shots through a locked at Steenkamp as the woman cowered in a bathroom at the runner's home.
"Nike felt it was appropriate to take the ad down from Oscar's website recognizing the sensitivities of the situation," spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said.
Nike, still reeling from its relationship with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, had responded cautiously immediately after Steenkamp's death. The company offered sympathy to the families of everybody involved in the incident but said it would not comment any further.
Nike and other companies began distancing themselves from Pistorius just hours after his agent Peet van Zyl told reporters that sponsors were standing by the alleged murderer.
"All sponsors are still on board, and they have give us their commitments toward Oscar, based on the relationships that they have formed with him over the past years," van Zyl said. “They are quite happy to allow the legal process to take its course before they make any other further and formal announcements on it.”
Oakley, meanwhile, announced on Monday that it was also cutting ties with Pistorius.
“In light of the recent allegations, Oakley is suspending its contract with Oscar Pistorius, effective immediately," the sunglasses company said in a statement.
The French fashion house Thierry Mugler announced that it would withdraw all products featuring Pistorius, including a cologne launched last year to commemorate the London Paralympics. The company has also deleted references to Pistorius from its website.
"Out of respect and sympathy to the families involved in this tragic case, Thierry Mugler Parfums has removed all campaigns featuring Oscar Pistorius," the company said in a statement.