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Nike changes policy for pregnant athletes

Christian six-time Olympic gold medallist athlete Allyson Felix, publicly denounced that Nike imposed restrictions on the sponsorship of pregnant athletes.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus WASHINGTON D.C. 30 AUGUST 2019 19:15 h GMT+1
Allyson Felix and her daughter Camryn. / Twitter @allysonfelix

After receiving widespread criticism for its policy towards pregnant athletes and new mothers, Nike has decided to waive performance-pay reductions for 18 months for women athletes who decide to have a baby.



In a letter shared by Felix on social media, Nike says it will “not apply any performance-related reduction for a consecutive period of 18 months, beginning eight months prior to athlete’s due date”.



In a statement to various media outlets, Nike said that “Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes”.



They have “standardized our approach across all sports, to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy”.



 



“OUR VOICES HAVE POWER”



“Our voices have power. I’m grateful to NIKE leadership for believing that we are all more than athletes. THANK YOU to the brands who have already made this commitment. Who is next?”, the six-time Olympic gold medallist said in twitter.



Felix's daughter Camryn was born prematurely in November. She was then negotiating a new contract with Nike, and in May, “despite all my victories, Nike wanted to pay me 70% less than before. If that’s what they think I’m worth now, I accept that”, Felix told New York Times.



"What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn't be punished if I didn't perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth”, she added.



 



Felix in Athens 2004, her first Olympic Games. / Twitter @allysonfelix



 



“THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT PREGNANCY”



According to Felix, “this isn’t just about pregnancy. We may stand behind the brands we endorse, but we also need to hold them accountable when they are marketing us to appeal to the next generation of athletes and consumers”.



Olympian and six-time US champion in the 800m, Alysia Montaño, and and former elite marathoner Kara Goucher, also publicly criticized Nike for financially penalizing athletes who decide to start a family.



The athlete signed a multi-year deal with Athleta, a women’s apparel company owned by Gap, that assured her that even during maternity she would be compensated.



 



CHRISTIAN ATHLETE



Felix, daughter of an evangelical pastor, has publicly proclaimed her Christian faith many times.



“My success is not mine, it is a gift from the Lord”, she said at a 2008 meeting at Sunrise Church in California.



“Many times things happen to us through different tests, and it may seem that following God's plan does not make sense at all, but God is always in control and He will never leave us”, she pointed out on another occasion.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.