In Summary
  • Nike plans to waive performance-pay reductions for 12 months for athletes who decide to have a baby.
  • The move comes after Olympic track and field star Allyson Felix joined a chorus of critics.

NEW YORK

US sporting goods giant Nike, under fire for financially penalizing sponsored athletes who become pregnant, is changing its maternity policy, the New York Times reported.

"We've recognised Nike, Inc., can do more, and there is an important opportunity for the sports industry collectively to evolve to better support female athletes," Sandra Carreon-John, a Nike spokeswoman, told the newspaper in an email on Friday.

According to the Times, Nike plans to waive performance-pay reductions for 12 months for athletes who decide to have a baby.

The move comes after Olympic track and field star Allyson Felix joined a chorus of critics.

Felix, the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals, wrote in the New York Times she had been offered a vastly reduced contract by Nike since taking time off in 2018 during her pregnancy.

The 33-year-old spoke out after US team-mates Alysia Montano and Kara Goucher levelled similar allegations against Nike as part of an investigation by the Times.

"They told stories we athletes know are true, but have been too scared to tell publicly: If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward," wrote Felix, who gave birth to a baby girl in December.

She opted to start a family despite concern over renewal of her Nike sponsorship deal that expired at the end of 2017.

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