New Balance terminate Ben Stokes' contract
What's the story?
Following Ben Stokes' alleged assault in Bristol which saw the England all-rounder arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, the sportswear company, New Balance have ended its association with the 26-year-old.
A statement from the company, who are also England's kit sponsors, said: "New Balance does not condone behaviour by our global athletes that does not match our brand culture and values, and therefore we have ended our relationship with Ben Stokes, effective October 11, 2017. We will not provide further comment."
In case you didn't know...
In the aftermath of England's win in the third ODI against Bristol, Stokes is alleged to have been involved in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol where he is alleged to have assaulted two men. He was arrested and returned to Bristol last week for questioning and could be charged by the Avon & Somerset police.
The heart of the matter
Since the incident, ECB have confirmed that the all-rounder will not travel with the England squad that departs for the Ashes on October 28. While he may yet be part of the series if no further charges are levelled upon the conclusion of the investigation, he won't be with the side, initially, at least.
The 26-year-old did have his central contract renewed and on Wednesday, the same day, New Balance terminated his contract, he also apologized for impersonating Katie Price and her disabled son Harvey.
In a statement, Stokes said: “Earlier this year I was shown a clip of Harvey being asked on ”Loose Women“ how he responds to internet trolls. I loved Harvey’s directness with his response - he said what most of us think but perhaps aren’t brave enough to say, let alone on live TV.
“I foolishly attempted to copy the clip after I saw it a few times. I should never have done this and I am so sorry. It was absolutely not my intention to offend Harvey, Katie or anybody else. I have written to both Harvey and Katie to say sorry and prior to this offered to meet in person at the end of last month with a view to also getting behind their petition about online bullying. I do hope I can put this right.”
Things just aren't going Stokes way at the moment but if things do take a turn for the better, he will next feature for England in the Ashes that begins next month.
As a brand, there are certain decisions taken to ensure that any incidents that occur don't affect its value. The fact that New Balance, who also sponsor England's kit, have terminated their contract with Stokes isn't a huge surprise considering the allegations levelled at the England all-rounder. The fact that it has taken a few weeks since the incident and the brouhaha that surrounded it shows that it wasn't a decision that was taken in haste. While this might have a direct impact on the brand, it also highlights what they stand for.