Adidas, the world’s second-largest sportswear company, has added a clause into its contracts with the sportsmen and women it sponsors spelling out that if they reveal publicly that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, the contract will not be changed or terminated, BuzzFeed News can reveal.
Robin Stalker, the chief financial officer of Adidas, revealed the move on Thursday at the first British conference dedicated to improving the visibility of LGBT people in sport.
This clause reads: “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.”
Although in Britain it is illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, this is not the case in dozens of countries in which Adidas sponsors athletes – including certain US states. The prospect of losing sponsorship deals has also long been regarded as a key factor in keeping sportspeople in the closet.