What Nike Told Me When I Wanted to Have a Baby | NYT Opinion

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If we show emotion,
we’re called dramatic. If we want to play
against men, we’re nuts. If we dream of
equal opportunity, delusional, and if we want to
be an athlete and a mother, well that’s just crazy. No, seriously it’s
not a good idea. Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing
everything. Like maybe your
contract, your pay. Even if you have to watch
them roll out an ad campaign praising women like you,
and preaching the importance of taking a stand. Pro sports and motherhood. That’s just crazy. The sports industry allows
for men to have a full career. And when a woman
decides to have a baby, it pushes women out at
their prime. I’m Alysia Montaño. I’m an Olympian. I’m a national
champion, and I’ve been one of the top three
runners in the entire world. And I’m a mother. Make way for
Prince Aster! My daughter Linnéa
is four years old and my son Aster is
one and a half. When I was pregnant with
Linnéa I kept training. I even ran in a big race. And it was a pretty big deal. They called me the
pregnant runner. “Why this race was
so important for you to run eight months pregnant?” I wanted to turn
stereotypes about pregnancy upside down. Exercising
through pregnancy is great for both
the mom and the baby and I wanted to show people
that you can be a mother and still have a successful
career, even in sports. I was sponsored by Nike. And then, when I
told them that I wanted to have a
baby during my career they told me And we’re not just up
against our sponsors. The U.S. Olympic Committee And this just makes our
comeback even harder. So I left Nike
and I went to ASICS. I had my daughter. And when I was on
my return and trying to recover from my pregnancy, They also I was pissed. I was very upset at the
fact that there was not a policy in place
that would protect me. And I fought tooth and nail to
make sure that this would not happen to other women. I started a maternity
leave legislation so we would not lose
our health insurance. I taped my abs together
because they were torn apart. I wore a brace as I’d go and I’d lift to come back
within their time frame that they were expected of me. They weren’t sure
if I was going to be able to return
after my pregnancy. I proved them wrong. I won a national
championship at six months postpartum. I won another national
championship at 10 months postpartum while still
nursing my baby girl. I showed up to the World
Championships in Beijing, China, still
nursing my daughter and pumped for 10 days so that
I can ship my milk back to my daughter
in the States. Not having any system in place to
protect our female athletes, it puts our health at risk. Our sponsors know
this isn’t right, which is why they implement
confidentiality clauses that forbid us from talking about
the scale of the problem, which prevents us from
being able to change it. So companies like Nike
tell us to “Dream crazy.” We say, “How about you stop
treating our pregnancies like injuries?” Then they tell us to
believe in something. We say, “How about maternity leave? How about when you
tell my daughter she can achieve anything, you back it up?” If they try to dismiss
your pregnancy, if they call it a
distraction or an injury, remind them what they told
us: That great athletes never back down. That
great athletes push the limits of what’s possible
both on and off the track. Because that’s the
warrior spirit that packs stadiums and sells
sneakers. We’re the ones who decide what dreams are crazy. And what dreams
make perfect sense. And we’re the ones
who tell our daughters the difference between dreams
and advertising. Who knows? Maybe being a mother and a
champion was a crazy dream. But it didn’t have to be. So come on, Nike, when are you
going to start dreaming crazy?


  1. After we published this video , another Nike athlete is speaking out. Allyson Felix has been one of Nike's most marketed athletes, but they won't give her maternity protections. This is her story: https://youtu.be/aLk5znZljTI

  2. Parents should DEFINITELY get maternity leave but enough with the gender issues already. That is unless people want to get serious and merge all male/female leagues to TRULY level the playing field. Now the Olympics is another issue. I think all athletes should get an equitable split.

  3. It seems Nike is absolutely horrendous toward women. This video plus another video I saw where Nike did nothing about an abusive coach for female runners proves they’re horrible.

  4. It's just normal. Sponsors pay athletes for their image. They want the best athletes with the best performances. Who want to be the sponsor of a loser ? A girl get pregnant. Just few chances that she come back at the same level. Is it worth it for a sponsor ? No. That's it.

    Nike is here for money, it's a company, it's the goal #1. Nike is not here for being nice etc Nike is not a social assistant or something. They are not here to support you. You are supposed to make them earn money. If you don't, they quit.

    Having a baby and be an athlete with best performance at the same time is…almost impossible. Most of time, if you get pregnant, it's very hard to come back at your best level. And the 9 months your pregnant, your not at you best, the 3rd semester, you can not run or do something. And after…

    The career of an athlete is short. You have the time to have a baby, have a family. But you have to be 100% focus in your career when you are young and at your best.

  5. "And when a woman decides to have a baby, it pushes women out at their prime", implying sport industry doesn't want pregnant women running the track. I mean, they must be crazy! Pregnant women are obviously superior in running to non-pregnant ones. And when you make a year long pause in your serious training, it will only help you get you mind calmer, especially if you meditated all that time. And we all know the key to success in running is to have a calm mind and definitely not to train hard as much as you can.

  6. Behind scenes of Dream Big slogan. I am truly grateful for what she’s done. Thank you Alysia for giving us hope pregnancy is not a wall for our career and prove pregnancy can be another plan along the career if we have right help and support

  7. All these stupid companies don’t realize that those kids born to elite athletes could be their brand in the future.

  8. Good for Alysia and her family; but too bad for Nike (lol). THIS is the type of discrimination worth fighting for; referring to a person by their biological gender is NOT. So where are the radical left's feminists? They're in the same place they are in defending women's rights in Sharia-compliant countrires: NOWHERE. These ignorant feminazis and SJW's seem to "strain at a gnat but swallow a camel" with their priorities on WHICH type of women to defend.

  9. So she signed a contract, decided to breach the contract but then still expected Nike, and later Asics, to honor agreements she had chosen to break…cry me a river Montalvo, and get rid of that stupid flower

  10. It is a long overdue decision….and they should apply this too when it comes to paternity leave too ….it is a necessary wake up call …thank you New York Times for bringing this up to the light and create awareness 👏👏👏👏

  11. What a great message. Babies are more of a legacy than any medal or award. People need to remember this and get their priorities straight. Nike, after all of the crap you've pulled, this is one of the best ways I've seen for you to finally get what was coming to you. I applaud this athlete for putting her duty to her children higher than to a company and a contract.

  12. Equality for all women. Nike stop supporting all women and avoid being back stabbed like this.

    We men never pull up such stunts. Support only men we are dedicated

  13. This is messed up… I’m so upset that Nike treat their women athletes so horribly. I thought they were more progressive than this😒

  14. ok im sorry im not sure about sports and i am not a woman, nor and i pro athlete.. sorry but that makes since ,, Nike is a industry built on competition . sometime things are mutually exclusive. maybe a company shouldnt tell you can achieve anything.. and maybe you shouldnt just expect someone or force someone to fund your dream that may not make sense to them dreams are good we all have them my parents funded my dream they provided for my health … my dreams when i got married and moved out were mine to fund.. not a company to replace the father..

  15. Hmmm, what this girl is forgetting is that, its the same with all other careers.
    If she still wanted to be an athlete then she should not have been a mother yet. Its not nike's fault.
    And i really feel bad for the baby having to be growing inside of her when the she was competing.

  16. It's probably not the best idea to give a company free advertising if you're not happy with them.

    I've never heard a single person refer to equal opportunity as delusional.

  17. And great athletes were born by their loving Mothers who sometimes had to give up their dreams to be able to go threw pregnancy and give birth tho teir Babys

  18. Nike does a lot of messed up stuff worse than even this it's all about the money when your a Chinese company which at this point is basically what they are

  19. I dont know what's going on, but between yesterday and today I've seen 2 of these Nike videos. NYT going for Nike!!! About time someone started holding these companies accountable for their bad practices.

  20. Contracts have consequences. You should understand them. Choices have consequences, unfortunately. Nike sucks! They treat people like crap. We all know that.

  21. One of my customer, a factory which produce shoes for Nike said, that they regretted making an agreement with Nike, that their factory would've better not having a job than working with Nike.

    Dear Nike, stop treating people like sh*t.

  22. She ran when she was 8 months pregnant? I admire her concern for her child!

    Just another example of women wanting everything!

  23. This doesn't make any sense. I just watch another Nike video with a girl claiming her coach Roberto was fired from abusing women after the amount of weight they were losing was giving them RED-S. Now this girl is saying that it's okay for women to get pregnant as if that's not going to put any stress on a women?! The way I see it, Nike doesn't want to be liable for any issues arising from your pregnancy Allyson. Being a mother is a time to be with your kids and it's not fair for Nike invest in you when there are others who want the opportunity more badly than you do.

  24. Not that I'm a fan of Nike, but it's a private organization that can do what TF they want to do. If they don't want to continue sponsoring you due to YOUR decision to have a child. I've no problem with athletes making their desires known to sponsors, but if the sponsors don't want to give more sponsorship, THEY DON'T HAVE TO!

  25. never bought a Nike nor Assics product. Don't know how come. But it ain't different in corporate surroundings. They 'll put you aside. I am talking European highly protected workers regulations. You get payed on maternity leave as an employee but not as a self employed. So there is no much hope. The weakness buying babies. We need an ad showing a presidents woman pregnant to a boy that gets the president on his turn an d again his woman being pregnant giving birth to a son that will get the next president. You have that in your shop.

  26. The changed approach Nike refered to at the end of the video was that they kept Serena on the payroll because as one of, if not the biggest female athlete they could not risk getting on her bad side and she going to the press.

  27. You'd think Nike would want their athletes to breed as much as possible to create a sustainable influx of lifelong trained athletes.

  28. Love that Nike is allowing the ignorant men in charge to make such foolish decisions on behalf of the company. Shows great foresight.

  29. I have stopped supporting NIKE for other reasons, but this the first time I have heard of this. If this is true, NIKE might be violating the FMLA law. I suggest you check.

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