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Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Adidas Tells Sports Stars: We Won’t Fire You If You Come Out As Gay!
Adidas Tells Sports Stars: We Won’t Fire You If You Come Out As Gay
The sportswear giant has added a new clause into its contracts
for athletes that states sponsorship won’t be affected if they announce
they’re gay, bi, or trans.
Adidas, the world’s second-largest sportswear company, has added a
clause into its contracts with the sportsmen and women it sponsors
spelling out that if they reveal publicly that they are lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or transgender, the contract will not be changed or
terminated, BuzzFeed News can reveal.
Robin Stalker, the chief
financial officer of Adidas, revealed the move on Thursday at the first
British conference dedicated to improving the visibility of LGBT people
This clause reads: “Adidas acknowledges and adheres to
the principles of diversity, as this is a central part of the Adidas
group philosophy. Therefore Adidas warrants that this agreement will
neither be terminated nor modified in case the athlete comes out to the
public as a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)
Although in Britain it is illegal to fire someone
because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, this is not the
case in dozens of countries in which Adidas sponsors athletes –
including certain US states. The prospect of losing sponsorship deals
has also long been regarded as a key factor in keeping sportspeople in
Adidas, which is the largest manufacturer of sportswear in Europe, is
a major sponsor of top-level athletes throughout the world, including
hundreds of partnerships with individuals and teams across numerous
sports such as football, rugby, and tennis. The German
multibillion-pound company was also a sponsor of the conference in
London, entitled Team Pride: Levelling the LGBT Playing Field.
made the announcement moments before hosting a panel discussion with
three sportspeople who have all publicly disclosed their sexual
orientation: rugby player Keegan Hirst, boxer Nicola Adams, and
footballer Casey Stoney.
It comes two years to the day since Adidas menioned
that Olympic diver Tom Daley would be the new face of the company’s NEO
label. This deal was offered to Daley just weeks after he had revealed
in a YouTube video that he was in a relationship with a man. The same
week Adidas prevented customers from being able to put the words “gay”,
“lesbian”, “bisexual”, and “transgender” on customisable trainers, in a
bid to stop people “abusing the system”. BuzzFeed News contacted
both Adidas and Tom Daley to comment on the contract clause about coming
out but did not receive a response prior to publication.