Nike Shifts Policy on Pregnancy

From backlash to a new policy.


Amber Fretwell

A Nike scandal could set a new precedent for sports companies.

Amber Fretwell, Columnist

Nike sponsors athletes, models, and generally active people to be in their ads and campaigns for their products. This company is popular among all age groups and genders because of their comfortable shoes, great clothing, and their unforgettable swoosh logo.

Recently, Nike has had a little bit of a scandal when they received backlash for withholding the pay of one of their female endorsement deals. One of their female endorsers, Alysia Montaño, became pregnant during the span of her contract. She reported that Nike was not paying her because of her condition, and that under their contract, she was not protected under that field. Alysia Montaño is an American middle-distance runner who has reported that she was not happy with Nike’s contract clauses for when an endorser becomes pregnant, according to CBS News. It’s been proven that Nike has stopped paying women in the past while pregnant and immediately following childbirth. After Montaño was told by Nike that they would stop her pay while pregnant, she switched to Asics as her sponsor. Multiple other athletes like Kara Goucher and Jo Pavey also said that Nike had their pay put on “pause” while pregnant, and until they would start performing or competing again.

As a part of Nike’s sponsorship deal, there is a section on performance-based reductions that Nike uses to justify pay reduction, not excluding pregnancy and giving birth. Nike decided to change their rules so that no women would have to be “put on pause” while pregnant or directly after giving birth, since they now know how important a time it is in a women’s life. This is important for our society, especially as women’s rights continue to evolve. Women should not have to be punished for wanting to continue her own personal life and start a family of her own.

Although there were issues in the past, it is crucial that big companies such as Nike are recognizing how much of a positive thing pregnancy is, especially for people who are trying to start or continue a family of their own. As much as Nike is publicized and known for their products, it’s important that they show how changing their policy is for the best, because of the precedent it sets for other major companies.