Adidas have added a new protective clause to their athlete’s contracts, which protects them if they come out publicly as LGBT.
Robin Stalker, chief financial officer at Adidas, announced the change on Thursday at the LGBT in Sports conference in London, which focused on improving the visibility of LGBT people in sports.
The clause states: “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) community.”
Stalker’s announcement came just before he hosted a panel discussion with sportspeople who have all publicly come out, including rugby player Keegan Hirst and footballer Casey Stoney.
Coming out can be a tough experience for anyone, imagine what it must be like if the whole world is watching you? It’s hoped that these new contracts might give an athlete one less thing to worry about.
Speaking at the #TeamPride event, Casey Stoney opened up about the main reason players avoid coming out – fear.
She said: “We want to get to a day when it’s no longer a story if someone comes out and I don’t think we are ever going to get to a day unless there are male players that are comfortable and they don’t live in fear that is going to be held against them.”
It’s already illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in Britain, but this is not the case for all the countries where Adidas sponsors athletes.
Adidas also showed their love for the LGBT community on Valentine’s Day, tweeting a photo of two female joggers leaning in for kiss with the caption: “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Some were not best pleased with their support, with one user saying: “WTF Adidas? This day is for boy and girl, when they are couple. Not for lesbians, stupid Adidas.”
Adidas swiftly shut him down though, replying: “No, this day is for LOVE. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
I'm so proud i choose the right brand pic.twitter.com/3rmJrZTUeT
— commander bright (@laurmanisclexa) February 15, 2016
adidas is so amazing for this pic.twitter.com/VO4x4CHYRC
— FREDDY (@FreddyAmazin) February 15, 2016
Stalker’s announcement comes two years after naming Tom Daley as the new face of the company’s NEO label. He was offered the sponsorship a few weeks after he opened up about being in a relationship with a man on YouTube.
Adidas has also banned customers from using the words “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual”, and “transgender” on customisable trainers, hoping to stop people “abusing the system.”