Your favorite company may not deserve to be your favorite company after all.
Nike is under fire for allegedly mistreating female athletes during their pregnancy and after giving birth. In an op-ed done with the New York Times, Alysia Montano says that she was penalized for her decision to start a family. According to Montano, it was a back and forth battle between her and the sports company. It happened when trying to hold onto her sponsorship, which they threatened to withdraw.
Montano, who’s a professional runner, and even ran while pregnant in multiple U.S. championship races, joins a growing list of athletes speaking out against Nike. As it appears, she’s far from the only female athlete to have Nike penalize them for taking maternity leave. Another athlete, Kara Goucher, states she was pressured to compete just seven months after going into labor. Ultimately, she was able to hold onto her sponsorship but sustained a hip injury as a result of being unable to let her body heal, and returning back to the sport too soon.
Nike’s defense in all of this is that they are fixing the issue to be adapting. They released the statement below.
“Nike is proud to sponsor thousands of female athletes. As is common practice in our industry, our agreements do include performance-based payment reductions. Historically, a few female athletes had performance-based reductions applied. We recognized that there was inconsistency in our approach across different sports and in 2018 we standardized our approach across all sports so that no female athlete is penalized financially for pregnancy.”
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