(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Corporate sponsors of Olympic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius have begun to distance themselves from the sprinter, who is accused of murdering his model-girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius is back to court in South Africa Tuesday morning on murder charges.
Oakley, the eyewear manufacturer, and the sporting goods giant Nike announced on Monday that they would no longer run ads featuring Pistorius, the South African double-amputee who gained worldwide fame for running on carbon-fiber blades.
“In light of the recent allegations, Oakley is suspending its contract with Oscar Pistorius, effective immediately. Our hearts are with the families during this difficult time and we’ll continue to follow the developments in this tragic case,” Oakley spokeswoman Cheri Quigley said in a statement released on Monday afternoon.
Nike has pulled an Internet ad showing Pistorius starting to sprint with the caption, “I am the bullet in the chamber.”
The companies made their announcements shortly after Pistorius’ own agent, Peet Van Zyl, said publicly that he expected the sponsors to stick with Pistorius through the legal process.
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Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
Tiffany Ap and Brian Todd, CNN Newswire