Detectives with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have reopened an investigation into soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2009, a person named Kathryn Mayorga filed a complaint against Ronaldo. She claimed that the soccer player forced her to have sex. The original 2009 complaint resulted in an investigation and medical examination at the time. But it faded away after Mayorga allegedly accepted a settlement in exchange for her silence. But now, Mayorga says she’s speaking out because of #MeToo. And her lawyers claim that Ronaldo failed to fulfill the terms of the deal.
While Mayorga seeks justice, Ronaldo sponsors like Electronic Arts are speaking up. Ronaldo is one of the cover athletes for the megapopular soccer simulator FIFA 19. That game debuted September 28, a week before Las Vegas law enforcement reopened the case. So now EA has to minimize working with an accused sexual assailant without appearing inconsiderate of a potential real victim.
I reached out to EA, and a representative for the publisher sent us the following statement.
“We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo,” an EA spokesperson said. “We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”
The publisher had no additional comments to make at this time. It is, however, quietly making other moves to minimize Ronaldo. As GamesIndustry.biz points out, the EA Sports website is using a plain blue background for FIFA 19 where it features the cover athletes for games like Madden NFL 19 and NHL 19.
Dealing with controversy
EA has a history of responding quickly to allegations of sexual assault. In 2015, the publisher announced that it would place Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the cover of NHL 16. In August of that year, however, a woman from the Buffalo, New York region accused Kane of sexual assault.
Electronic Arts quickly reacted to that by pulling the plug on the planned cover and cancelling Kane’s work to promote the hockey sim.
Official statement regarding Patrick Kane. pic.twitter.com/MVurUYOHT8
— #NHL19 (@EASPORTSNHL) August 12, 2015
On September 15, 2015, NHL 16 launched with just Toews on the cover. Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III, who oversaw the Kane investigation, dropped what he called “this so called ‘case'” after three months.