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Nike terminating its contract with NFL’s Adrian Peterson

Chicago Bears v Minnesota VikingsChicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.Photograph by Adam Bettcher — Getty Images

Athletic gear behemoth Nike has reportedly terminated its contract with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, a move that comes two days after the football player pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.

The news, which was reported by ESPN, comes after Nike initially suspended its endorsement deal with Peterson in September. The football player had previously faced felony charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child after he was accused of hitting his 4-year-old son with a switch.

Nike, which has individual endorsement deals with many well-known professional athletes, has been closely linked to the National Football League since it won a five-year licensing deal to design a line for consumers. That deal was the first time the company became the exclusive NFL-gear supplier for all 32 teams in the league. While the contract has lead to stronger apparel sales, the link to the NFL and its players has also led to some problems. Late last month, president of Nike Brand, Trevor Edwards, said Nike had been speaking “very directly” with the NFL about how it handled the domestic violence controversies this past summer.

Nike has also ran into some trouble with some of its individual endorsements. One of the most famous example is the case of former cyclist Lance Armstrong. Initially, after Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and banned from elite-level sports in August 2012, Nike said it would continue to support Armstrong and the foundation he created. Armstrong had been a Nike athlete since 1996, so the brand the athlete had a long running relationship. But in October of that year, Nike terminated its contract with Armstrong, and in 2013, the company cut ties with the Livestrong charity.