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NFL star Ray Rice indicted on charges of assault and domestic abuse. Adrian Peterson indicted on charges of aggravated assault and reckless injury to a child. Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius imprisoned for the death of his girlfriend. These extremely high-profile cases, part of a seemingly endless stream of allegations of violence against women—involving athletes such as Quincy Enunwa, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy, A. J. Jefferson, Matt Barnes, DeAndre Liggins and Jared Sullinger in little over a year—have left sponsors and ad agencies recoiling in disgust.
And sports marketing experts warn that the multimillion athletic endorsement game, which took off with Arnold Palmer in the 1960s and peaked with Michael Jordan in the 1990s, will never be the same.