Earlier this month, Olympic runner Alysia Montaño made headlines after she wrote a New York Times op-ed calling out her former sponsor, Nike, for discriminating against pregnant athletes. Now, she has taken to Facebook to make similar claims about the sports equipment company ASICS.
According to Montaño, when she informed Nike and the four male Nike executives who negotiate contracts for track and field she was planning to have a baby during her career, she was allegedly told, "We'll just pause your contract and stop paying you."
The decision lead Montaño, who ran the USATF's USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships while eight months pregnant in 2014, to take on a new sponsorship — this time from ASICS.
"After leaving Nike for their ill practice towards pregnant athletes, I was told 'not to worry about my contract' by ASICS when I became pregnant," Montaño, who was sponsored by Nike from 2010 to 2016, shared in her Facebook post on Thursday. "Fast-forward a few months after having my daughter, I was called by ASICS saying let's schedule a call to talk about your contract. My stomach dropped."
Montaño claims that ASICS told her they would reduce her contract based on her 2014 performance.
"I was shocked," Montaño wrote. "It is true in 2014 I did not hit performance goals, but I did go to work as long as I could."
Montaño ran five miles the day before delivering her daughter at 2:30 in the morning.
"After a long fight ,I was still reduced in 2015," Montaño shared.
Montaño went on to outline her schedule of juggling training as well as motherhood. "I mean, if I'm not working... what is work?" she wrote.
Earlier this month, Nike provided a statement to CBS that read, "Nike is proud to sponsor thousands of female athletes. As is common practice in our industry, our agreements do include performance-based payment reductions. Historically, a few female athletes had performance-based reductions applied. We recognized that there was inconsistency in our approach across different sports and in 2018 we standardized our approach across all sports so that no female athlete is penalized financially for pregnancy."
ASICS did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's requests for comment.
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