South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the so-called “Blade Runner” from the 2012 Olympics, stands accused of his girlfriend’s shooting death
. As with any well-known athlete at the center of controversy, sponsors have to step in to react.
The companies sponsoring Pistorius, who made international headlines by becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, include British Telecom, Oakley, Nike, and prosthetics maker Ossure, according to Reuters.
Reuters got reactions from a few of those brands
- A BT spokeswoman said, “We are shocked by this terrible, tragic news. We await the outcome of the South African police investigation.”
- Jon Siggurdsson, CEO of Iceland-based Ossur, commented: “I can only say that our thoughts and prayers are with Oscar and the families involved in the tragedy. It is completely premature to discuss or speculate on our business relationship with him.”
Meanwhile, Nike released a statement, saying:
"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident. As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time."
An unfortunate tagline on a Nike ad on Pistorius’ website read, “I am the bullet in the chamber.” The ad has since been taken down, according to The Times
reports that Pistorius’ deal with Nike is estimated at $2 million per year.
According to ESPN
, the South African TV network M-Net has stopped running ads featuring Pistorius for its telecast of the Academy Awards.