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Adidas Encourages Star Athletes to Come Out

Adidas Encourages Star Athletes to Come Out

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The sportswear company is adding a new clause to contracts with star athletes that specifies coming out won't affect the endorsement deal.

The world's second largest sportswear company is shaking up the sports industry by being the first company to guarantee they will not terminate any endorsement deals if the athlete comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Adidas made the announcement Thursday at a sports conference in England, according to BuzzFeed News.

"Adidas acknowledges and adheres to the principles of diversity, as this is a central part of the Adidas group philosophy," the new clause reads. "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."

Chief financial officer Robin Stalker made the announcement at a conference, Team Pride: Levelling the LGBT Playing Field, that the company had sponsored.

Many former athletes have said they feared losing endorsement deals when struggling with whether to come out. For example, tennis player Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles including nine women's singles championships at Wimbledon during her 30 year career, but didn't net a single endorsement deal after coming out in 1981.

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