While Mike Ashley, Kevin Keegan et al lacked the balls to sack Joey Barton after his recent criminal activity, this doesn’t appear to be the case with his sportswear company. Despite them having a dodgy record when it comes to human rights and the environment, at least Nike have had the decency to terminate the player’s deal with them.
The Guardian report that the US-based company have taken an extremely dim view of Barton attacking somebody in the street (strange that!) and decided that they would rather not be associated with somebody who many are referring to as ‘lowlife scum’.
Leo Sandino-Taylor, a Nike spokesman, said: “While Joey Barton is a talented footballer, we cannot condone or accept what he did and his contract has been terminated. We have provisions in all our sponsorship contracts to take into account any actions by athletes that bring the brand into disrepute.”
It is understood that Nike officials made the initial decision to dispense with Barton – whose two-year arrangement with the company is believed to have been worth £40,000 a year – when he was imprisoned for assault in May.
No great hardship for Joey, who will just about be able to get by on £65,000 a week at Newcastle. But will the club’s decision to retain his services have a negative impact when it comes to attracting new players, or will that not matter a jot?