11 Athlete Endorsements That Were Lost To Scandal

Brett Favre has been mired in an embarrassing and lurid sexual scandal and while it might be good for his wife’s book sales, it’s the kind of thing that tends to scare away advertisers.

Major brands love family-friendly images and they hate controversy. So when their heroic spokespeople get caught in something less than heroic, companies want to distance themselves as quickly as possible. Contracts are ended, ads are pulled, and the superstar finds out who their real friends are.

(Hint: It’s not the marketing department.)

Wrangler hasn’t caved yet, but if Favre is dealt a suspension—or worse—they may decide to cut lose like so many companies have before.

Tiger Woods, caught cheating on his wife with several mistresses

After the Tiger Woods sex scandal hit the news, AT&T, Accenture and Gatorade soon dropped their endorsement contracts with Woods.

Michael Vick, jailed for organised dog fighting

Nike and Rawlings severed ties with Michael Vick when his off the field hobby of dog fighting went public.

Michael Phelps, caught using marijuana

When photos of the Olympic champion using a bong hit the internet, Kellogg's no longer associated their name with Phelps'.

Kobe Bryant, accused of rape

Nutella and McDonald's dropped their endorsement deals with Kobe Bryant when the basketball star was caught up in a sexual assault case.

Ben Roethlisberger, accused of sexual assault

Ben Rothlisberger faced sexual assault allegations and lost his deal with local Pittsburgh favourite Big Ben's Beef Jerky.

Magic Johnson, contracted HIV

Converse and Pepsi let go of endorsement deals with Magic Johnson after he announced he contracted HIV in 1991.

Barry Bonds, accused of steroid use, soon to be on trial for perjury

Steroids helped Barry Bonds break records and also led to MasterCard, KFC, and Charles Schwab breaking endorsement deals with the slugger.

OJ Simpson, accused of murder

Although OJ Simpson was never convicted of the crime, Hertz likely regrets that the main suspect in the Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman murder was once their biggest spokesman.

Floyd Landis, failed steroid test at the Tour de France

After admitting to using steroids for most of his career, the 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis was dropped from the Phonak racing team and will never find another team to sponsor him again.

Ben Johnson, failed steroid test at the Olympics

Ben Johnson gave up his 1988 Olympic gold medal and lost a $2.8 million deal with Italian sportswear maker Diadora.

Wayne Rooney, infidelity

After being caught cheating on his pregnant wife, the Manchester United striker was dumped by Coca-Cola and Tiger Beer.

Some athletes have no problems using money all on their own

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