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Nike Faces Backlash After Their Controversial Maternity Leave Policy For Female Athletes Comes To Light

In recent times, Nike has differentiated itself from other prominent sporting-goods brands with its inspiration advertisements centered around diversity, overcoming adversity, and gender equality.

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times, however, revealed the great lengths the company still has to go if it truly wishes to treat women fairly.

The piece highlighted the story of U.S. Olympic runner Alysia Montano, who discovered how few protections are afforded to female athletes who become pregnant.

Though many thought Montano running races while pregnant was inspiring, the truth is that she had to keep running if she wanted to receive any sort of paycheck.

Nike offered a statement in defense of their policy:

Nike's explanation didn't sit well with many, however:

Being pregnant shouldn't be something women feel they have to hide or avoid if it's what they want.

The unfairness of these policies is even more glaring considering the image Nike presents of itself: a champion of athletes of all kinds, men and women alike.

Twitter users were outraged and heartbroken at how Nike has treated many of its female athletes:

Advertisements are just that. Actions must back them up or they mean nothing.

Several Twitter users debated whether pay cuts due to pregnancy were fair.

Most people seemed to agree that female athletes deserved to have guaranteed policies surrounding pregnancy written into their contract.

The insane dream real people want more than anything? Paid maternity leave.

Twitter users all lined up behind Nike's female athletes to show their support.

Women athletes deserve guaranteed protections written into their contracts!