Nike is standing by tennis star Maria Sharapova despite a positive drug test that has led the tennis star to a two-year suspension.
Nike had previously put its relationship with the athlete on hold but stood by her after the International Tennis Federation found that she “did not intentionally break its rules.”
“Maria has always made her position clear, has apologized for her mistake and is now appealing the length of the ban,” Nike said in a statement. “Based on the decision of the ITF and their factual findings, we hope to see Maria back on
“Based on the decision of the ITF and their factual findings, we hope to see Maria back on court and will continue to partner with her,” the company said.
Sharapova received a two-year suspension on Wednesday from the ITF after testing positive for meldonium, a drug that was recently banned by the organization.
The ITF admitted that she didn’t intentionally break any rules, but the organization also said she was at “very significant fault” for failing to stay on top of league changes to the banned substances list.
Nike and automaker Porsche suspended their sponsorship deals with Sharapova in March. Tennis racquet company HEAD, stuck with her, saying it believes she made an “honest mistake.”
Porsche is still remaining cautious.
“As Maria will appeal the [ITF] decision, we will continue to keep all activities with her on hold until the final judgment has been reached,” a Porsche spokeswoman said.
Meldonium is an active ingredient in a medication Sharapova had been taking for the last decade. The chemical was added to the ITF’s banned substances list in January.
Nike’s deal with Sharapova has been reported to be worth $70 million over eight years. .
Nike hasn’t shied away from working with athletes who have had questionable pasts. Last year, it signed a deal with American track star Justin Gatlin, whose four-year ban for using a performance enhancing drug ended in 2010. It was the track stars second suspension.