Slammed in op-ed over maternity policy, Nike stands its ground

Olympic runner Alysia Montaño, writing in The New York Times, said the sports gear company penalizes athletes who get pregnant. Nike counters that it has updated prior practices.

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A celebrity partner can boost your brand, but flaws in your sponsorship agreement could sour the relationship.

Nike partners with athletes worldwide to help sell its performance apparel and gear. However, every sponsorship agreement contains a performance clause to ensure that Nike doesn’t pay an athlete who has stopped competing and making public appearances. That’s all well and good, says runner Alysia Montaño, until a female athlete is penalized for having a baby.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, published over Mother’s Day weekend, the Olympic runner opined that Nike’s maternity policy for athlete partners leaves much to be desired.

She wrote:

Many athletic apparel companies, including Nike, claim to elevate female athletes. A commercial released in February received widespread acclaim for spotlighting women at all stages of their careers, from childhood to motherhood. On Mother’s Day this year, Nike released a video promoting gender equality.

But that’s just advertising.

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