Puma cuts ties with Aaron Hernandez
“Puma has ended the relationship with athlete Aaron Hernandez in light of the current situation,” Katie Sheptyck, a Westford-based Puma spokeswoman told Ross Jones of FOX Sports.
Hernandez had not been signed long by Puma, after inking a two-year endorsement deal with the sports apparel/footwear company in April. At that time, Puma said they were attracted by Hernandez’s "ability to overcome adversity."
“It isn’t every day that we welcome such a young talent to our team and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with Aaron Hernandez,” president of Puma North America, Jay Piccola, said in statement during April. “His talent, athleticism and ability to overcome adversity have made him a rising star, and all this matched with his personality and intense training regimen is what makes Aaron a key part of the Puma family.”
Hernandez in turn said that he picked Puma since it was unique.
"You don't see many people signing with Puma," Hernandez said in April. "I thought it would be something different, and I feel like I'm different than most."
Katie Sheptyck said Hernandez’s deal didn’t involve product endorsement and instead he to become the face of the brand’s men’s training category. However, Hernandez had not started working with Puma just yet and his role in the project wasn’t specifically defined, Sheptyck revealed.
This is the second company that dropped Hernandez as their endorser, following in the suit of CytoSport -- the maker of MuscleMilk , three days after Hernandez’s name was first mentioned in the connection with semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd’s slaying last week. The 27-year-old Lloyd was a friend/ acquaintance of Hernandez, and Lloyd’s body was found a mile down from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, Mass.
The Patriots released Hernandez shortly after his arrest on Wednesday. And mere hours later he was charged with first-degree murder, the NFL and various sports apparel websites pulled Aaron Hernandez No.81 jersey off their inventory for sale as well.
"We decided it was the appropriate step to take," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports, via an email on Wednesday.
Hernandez is currently being held without bail in the Bristol County House of Corrections, after a judge denied a request by the defense for the second-time this week, on Thursday. The 23-year-old Hernandez also faces five other fun-related charges in connection to the Odin Lloyd slaying. He is reportedly also being investigated connection to a double homicide that occurred in the city last July.