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EA "closely monitoring" Ronaldo rape investigation

FIFA 19 cover athlete downplayed in promotional materials as police look into allegations

Electronic Arts is keeping Cristiano Ronaldo as its FIFA 19 cover athlete for now. The publisher today indicated it would be taking a wait-and-see approach with the football star after the Las Vegas police confirmed it has re-opened an investigation into a 2009 complaint from a woman who says he raped her.

"We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo," an EA representative 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."

In August of 2015, EA scrapped plans to feature Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together on the cover for NHL 16 after Kane was the subject of a rape investigation, saying at the time, "In light of the ongoing investigation involving Patrick Kane, he will no longer be a spokesperson for the launch of EA Sports NHL 16. He will not appear on the EA Sports NHL 16 cover nor participate in other EA Sports NHL 16 promotional activities."

Although NHL 16's launch was just a month away at the time, EA managed to meet the original release date with revised cover art featuring Toews on his own.

FIFA 19 officially launched last week. While EA hasn't dropped Ronaldo entirely from its promotional activity, the company's website seems to have downplayed his presence, not featuring him in the same way it features other current EA Sports cover athletes. Screen captures from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine indicate several Ronaldo promotional images have been removed from the FIFA 19 front page at different times since September 30.

Ronaldo went missing from this drop-down menu on the morning of October 2.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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