Joke’s on Stokes as spon­sor pulls the plug

The Mercury - - SPORT -

BEN Stokes has had his con­tract with New Bal­ance ter­mi­nated as the fall­out from the scan­dal at the heart of English cricket con­tin­ues.

The sports equip­ment man­u­fac­turer said it “does not con­done be­hav­iour... that does not match our brand cul­ture and val­ues”.

New Bal­ance’s de­ci­sion was an­nounced hours after Stokes apol­o­gised to Katie Price and her dis­abled son Har­vey after a video emerged of the Durham player im­per­son­at­ing the pair.

The video came to light shortly after Stokes was placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by po­lice after be­ing ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent out­side a Bris­tol night­club last month.

The 26-year-old, Eng­land’s vice-cap­tain, has not been ruled out of the five-Test Ashes se­ries which starts on Novem­ber 23 in Aus­tralia, but the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board will not con­sider him for se­lec­tion un­til fur­ther no­tice as it awaits devel­op­ments in the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Stokes, who is also sub­ject to in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary ac­tion, has had his cen­tral con­tract re­newed by the ECB since his ar­rest. Stokes is­sued his apol­ogy to Price and her 15-year-old son Har­vey, prior to New Bal­ance’s de­ci­sion be­ing made public. Footage emerged last month of Stokes do­ing an im­pres­sion of first Price and then Har­vey. In a state­ment re­leased on Twit­ter, 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. – The In­de­pen­dent

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