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Stephanie Rice loses deal over slur

9/7/2010

SYDNEY -- Triple Olympic swimming gold medalist Stephanie Rice has lost an endorsement contract with luxury carmaker Jaguar over a homophobic slur she made on Twitter.

The 22-year-old Rice tweeted the derogatory remark after Australia's last-minute win over South Africa in a rugby union test match at Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Rice, who reportedly is dating Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper, later deleted the tweet and apologized, saying she didn't mean to cause offense.

"We have terminated our agreement with her," Jaguar spokesman Mark Eedle said in comments reported by the Australian Associated Press. "It's to do with how we want to associate our brand and unfortunately this ... is not an association we want to have going forward."

Rice has other endorsement deals with an underwear brand, a swimwear brand and a telecommunications company.

Rice, who won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, underwent surgery last week for a chronic shoulder problem and will miss next month's Commonwealth Games in India.

The Australian swimmer was the second high-profile athlete in as many days to be sanctioned over comments made on Twitter.

England cricket star Kevin Pietersen was fined Monday for making a profane comment on the micro blogging site.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said the comments were a breach of the conditions of his employment, but declined to reveal details of the fine.

Pietersen had already deleted and apologized for the content of his message, relating to his omission from the England squad for a limited-overs series against Pakistan.