Stokes cut by New Bal­ance

Marlborough Express - - CLASSIFIEDS - CRICKET

Ben Stokes has apol­o­gised for mock­ing a dis­abled child, but it did not stop New Bal­ance from end­ing their spon­sor­ship deal with him.

The multi­na­tional sports equip­ment com­pany tore up the Eng­land cricket all­rounder’s con­tract on Thursday (NZ time), re­ported by the Tele­graph to be worth £200,000 (NZ$375,000) per year.

It came hours after the 26-year-old is­sued an apol­ogy for a video which emerged ear­lier this month of him mock­ing celebrity Katie Price’s 14-year-old son, Har­vey, who is blind and suf­fers from Prader-Willi syn­drome, autism and ADHD.

It was the sec­ond in­dis­cre­tion for Stokes in quick suc­ces­sion after he was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm after an in­ci­dent in late Septem­ber out­side a Bris­tol night­club.

A video later emerged of a man, al­leged to be Stokes, throw­ing 15 punches in a minute.

New Bal­ance said in a state­ment Stokes’ con­duct was not in line with the com­pany’s val­ues.

‘‘New Bal­ance does not con­done be­hav­iour by our global ath­letes that does not match our brand cul­ture and val­ues. There­fore we have ended our re­la­tion­ship with Ben Stokes, ef­fec­tive Oc­to­ber 11.’’

Ear­lier, Stokes had is­sued his apol­ogy on Twit­ter, say­ing he did not in­tend to cause any of­fence.

‘‘Ear­lier this year I was shown a clip of Har­vey be­ing asked on [ TV show] ‘Loose Women’ how he re­sponds to in­ter­net trolls,’’ Stokes said, in his first pub­lic state­ment since the Bris­tol brawl.

‘‘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.’’


Ben Stokes

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