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Sponsors distancing themselves from Oscar Pistorius

South African runner Oscar Pistorious is entering his fifth day in jail after allegedly murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Police are investigating damage to her skull and friends of Pistorious say he frantically called them and admitted to shooting Steenkamp. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports

Two major sponsors of "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic and Paralympic star accused of murdering his model girlfriend, announced on Monday they are no longer supporting the standout South African athlete.

Oakley, the eyewear manufacturer, announced in a statement that it would immediately suspend its contract with Pistorius. And sporting gear giant Nike told the Associated Press the company has no plans to use him in any future advertisements. A 2007 Nike Internet ad featuring Pistorius springing with the caption “I am the bullet in the chamber” has been pulled from the web.

Dion Chang / AP

This photo taken through a car window shows workers taking down a billboard of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius endorsing a product in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday.

News of the athlete’s lost endorsements came just hours after his agent told media that the companies would stand by Pistorius as details of the still-mysterious shooting continue to emerge.

"All sponsors are still on board, and they have given us their commitment towards Oscar, based on the relationships that they have formed with him over the past years," said Peet van Zyl, who represents the double-amputee. "They are quite happy to allow the legal process to take its course before they make any other further and formal announcements on it."

The 26-year-old sprinter is due to appear Tuesday in a South African court, where he will seek bail. He strongly denied charges that he murdered model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home near Pretoria early on Valentine’s Day.

Despite the bail hearing, all his upcoming races have been canceled, van Zyl confirmed.

Steenkamp died from gunshot wounds, according to police. Her funeral is due to take place Tuesday.

Karyn Maughan, legal correspondent for South Africa news channel ENCA, told NBC's TODAY that the sprinter would need to convince the court that her death was an accident.

“If he can’t prove that her death was unintentional, then it is unlikely he will get bail, and he also faces a life sentence in jail,” she said.

“He must try to convince the court he shot her in confusion, thinking she was an intruder. His difficulty is that multiple credible witness accounts suggest there were noises that sounded like an argument coming from the house before the shooting.”

According to newspaper reports Sunday, two friends claimed the sprinter called them in a panic after the shooting, telling them he had shot Steenkamp in a "terrible accident."

Pistorius’ uncle Arnold Pistorius on Saturday said the Paralympian was “numb with shock, as well as grief.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Karyn Maughan, senior legal reporter for eNCA news in South Africa, tells TODAY's Savannah Guthrie that Olympian Oscar Pistorius will have difficulty proving he didn't purposely shoot his girlfriend, and she explains that the Olympic runner kept a cricket bat next to his bed in fear of being attacked.

 

Related:

Prosecutor: 'Blade Runner' committed 'premeditated' murder of girlfriend

Reeva Steenkamp was model, budding TV star

 

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