New Balance, the sportswear company, has decided to end its association with England all-rounder Ben Stokes following an incident in Bristol on September 26 where he is alleged to have assaulted two men.
Stokes, who returned to Bristol last week for questioning, was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and could yet be charged by Avon & Somerset police. The ECB have confirmed that he will not travel with the squad for the Ashes series when they depart for Australia on October 28 although there remains the possibility that Stokes may arrive at a later date pending the outcome of the police investigation.
New Balance, who are also kit sponsors of all the England teams, said in a statement on Wednesday (October 11): “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.”
The announcement came a matter of hours after Stokes had used his Twitter account – the first time he has posted on the social media site since the Bristol incident – to apologise to the celebrity Katie Price following the release of a video last month which showed him allegedly doing an impression of Price and her disabled son, Harvey.
“Earlier this year I was shown a clip of Harvey being asked on “Loose Women” how he responds to internet trolls,” Stokes said in a statement. “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.”