May 25, 2019

Nike to protect pregnant athletes following backlash

Nike store

Photo: Frederic J. Brown /AFP/Getty Images)

Nike announced it is changing company policies to ensure that female athletes who become pregnant are better protected and aren't penalized, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: For runners, endorsement contracts make up the bulk of their incomes, and they must meet specific thresholds for compensation that could be unachievable if pregnant, reports the New York Times.

The context: Leading up to the announcement, Nike sponsored athletes published numerous op-eds in the New York Times detailing how the company treated them during and following their pregnancies.

  • Allyson Felix, one of Nike's most marketed athletes, published an op-ed detailing her experience. The 6-time Olympic champion described getting pregnant as "the kiss of death."
  • Alysia Montaño earned mainstream recognition after running while 8 months pregnant, and broke her non-disclosure agreement with Nike to talk with the New York Times.
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