EA Sports is monitoring Cristiano Ronaldo's sexual assault charges
Football's superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of raping a woman in 2009, which is the basis of a civil lawsuit filed against him. For those unaware, Ronaldo stars on the cover of FIFA 19. Naturally, game studio Electronic Arts (EA) has shown concern regarding the accusation and its reflection on the company. To this extent, it has decided to closely follow the case.
The poster boy who committed a grievous mistake
Ronaldo has appeared on the cover of FIFA for the second year consecutively. While this is unsurprising considering his talent and performance on the field, his behavior off the pitch also reflects on EA, as he is the cover star. EA commented as much saying that it is monitoring the situation closely since it expects the 'cover athletes and ambassadors' to reflect EA's values.
What are the charges against Ronaldo?
According to Germany's Der Spiegel's report, Ronaldo sexually assaulted an American woman in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. He paid $375,000 and made her sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, the survivor, Kathryn Mayorga has decided to file a civil complaint against CR7. Notably, Las Vegas police reopened the investigation and a rape kit collected on the day of the assault remains with authorities.
A poor reflection on EA
EA is naturally concerned with Ronaldo's current situation, as he features prominently in FIFA 19. Not only is he on the cover, but also appears in the Journey mode of FIFA and is rated highly in the Ultimate Team Mode. Despite this, if he admits guilt, EA will most likely remove Ronaldo from the cover and the coveted position he holds in the game.
A perfectly balanced stance
While some people might want EA to drop Ronaldo immediately, EA's approach is balanced. Even during the Tiger Woods fiasco, it stuck to the pro golfer when other brands abandoned ship. However, when his marital infidelities were proven, EA left him. Notably, EA had on one occasion made its stance clear saying that it would act if a cover star developed an image problem.
Where does Ronaldo go now?
EA's stance though laudable seems more motivated by its own brand image than Ronaldo's unjust act. Nonetheless, in a post #MeToo era, if Ronaldo admits guilt, he stands to lose his other brand contracts, endorsements, and likely his career. Notably, there is already speculation that he has been dropped from the Portuguese national team due to the pending investigation. Looks like #TimesUp for CR7.