“Disrespectful and Tone-Deaf”: Allyson Felix Opens Up About Her Fallout With Nike Ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 07/09/2021, 4:13 AM EDT
Jun 19, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Allyson Felix reacts after placing second in womens 400m semifinal in 51.01 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


USA’s ace sprinter, Allyson Felix has been an inspiration on and off the track. Her on-track success has brought more Americans on the tracks and off-track efforts have inspired many including mothers. And her famous fallout with sports goods giant, Nike when she was pregnant in 2017 is still fresh in her mind.

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In a recent interview, Felix opened up about the contract proposed by Nike back in 2017. Nike introduced a pay cut in the contract negotiations and didn’t give any maternity benefits to Allyson Felix. Felix was surprised by the alleged hypocrisy of the famous brand. “My stomach dropped. I was like, this is just beyond disrespectful and tone-deaf.” said Felix.

Allyson Felix of the United States reacts after winning gold at Rio Olympics 2021. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Why did Allyson Felix leave Nike?

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As Felix was disgusted with the contract offer, she rejected Nike after the brand was associated with her for a decade. Felix instead signed with Athleta, which offered her full maternity benefits, and she was their first-ever sports client.

“Nike sometimes, they feel like you don’t have another option. So they can get away with stuff like that because, where are you going to go?. And I think that’s how I was always perceived: ‘She’s never going to say anything. She’s never going to speak out’. I was fooled by it,” she said.

 Allyson Felix takes a victory lap after placing second in the women’s 400m during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even when Nike announced to offer 18 months of financial support to athletes during pregnancy, Felix rejected the offer and signed with Athleta. Now Felix has facilitated fresh growth in the female sports market. After she made the huge switch to Athleta, Nike lost another important Olympian to the brand.

Simone Biles joined Felix at Athleta ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2021

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Ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2021, Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, left Nike to sign with Athleta. Biles is a four-time Olympic champion and a 19-time World Champion. She is one of the greatest gymnasts in history and hence she was the other big name to move to Athleta.

Recent Athleta and Felix also announced a one-of-a-kind, childcare grant program that will help professional athletes who will travel across the world to participate in events. Allyson Felix also has her own shoe brand, Saysh. Moreover, she will be wearing the Saysh shoes when she runs at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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