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Hundreds of Nike employees march to protest company's treatment of women

Published
today Dec 11, 2019
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Several hundred Nike employees marched in protest of the company’s treatment of women on Monday, after the athleticwear company reopened a building named after disgraced track coach, Alberto Salazar. 


Twitter @runmarycain


According to multiple local and national reports, the protest took place at Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters, which involved employees parading signs that said “We believe Mary,” a reference to Mary Cain, the runner who quit Nike’s Oregon Project. 

Established in 2001, the Oregon Project was created by Nike to promote American long distance running, with Salazar as its coach. The group was abruptly shut down in October after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a four-year ban against Salazar for trafficking performance-enhancing drugs to his athletes. 

That same month, the New York Times published a video op-ed featuring Cain, who claimed that she was “emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto [Salazar] and endorsed by Nike.”

In particular, Cain claimed that she was repeatedly antagonized her about her weight during her time with the Oregon Project.  

After the op-ed, Nike said it was taking the accusations seriously, and would launch an “immediate” investigation.

Nike’s Beaverton headquarters has several buildings named after famous athletes, and the building named after Salazar had been under renovation prior to Monday.   

According to a Wall Street Journal report, fliers were handed out among Nike employees that said the march was intended to “celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees.”

The report also said that during the protest, several senior executives appeared and spoke with employees.

Following the march, Cain tweeted photos of protesters holding up signs and expressed her gratitude. 

“My love and thanks to all those that came together at the Nike Walk the Talk event this morning,” she tweeted. “Company cultures can only change when people stand together. Let’s be that voice of change and show we demand better support for women. Thank you for standing with me.” 

Cain continued, pushing for Nike to allow a third party to conduct an investigation of Salazar. 

“If @nike genuinely wants change, they must allow a third party to run their investigation,” Cain said in another tweet. “Let their employees and community talk freely. Stop the intimidation."

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