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Puma drops NFL player Hernandez after murder charge

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is arraigned on charges of murder and weapons violations in Attleborough, Massachusetts, after being arrested, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mike George/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Puma has canceled its sponsorship deal with American footballer Aaron Hernandez after he was charged with murder in the United States, the German company said.

Hernandez, seen as one of the NFL’s rising stars, was charged on Wednesday with the execution-style murder of a friend in Massachusetts.

“Puma has ended the relationship with athlete Aaron Hernandez in light of the current situation,” the company said in a one-line statement.

Puma, the world’s third-largest sporting goods company, had announced a two-year deal with Hernandez in April.

NFL team the New England Patriots dismissed the 23-year-old player after he was charged.

Endorsement contracts normally contain a clause allowing a company to tear up the agreement if an athlete brings a brand into disrepute.

Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by David Goodman