Responding strongly to racial discrimination against African-Americans, German multinational sports brand adidas has pledged to invest $ 20 million in its “Black communities”.
Influenced by the worldwide movement against racism, the decision will also see at least 30% new jobs in adidas and Reebok in the USA being filled with the Black and Latinx people.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted has strongly responded against “systematic forces that sustain racism”.
“The events of the past two weeks (since the killing of George Floyed by a US police officer) have caused all of us to reflect on what we can do to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism. We have had to look inward to ourselves as individuals and our organization and reflect on systems that disadvantage and silence Black individuals and communities,” Rorsted said in a statement released by adidas.
“While we have talked about the importance of inclusion, we must do more to create an environment in which all of our employees feel safe, heard and have equal opportunity to advance their careers. As adidas, we will create a lasting change and we will do it now.”
Adidas has announced three major decisions:
$20 mn investment in Black communities
Adidas will increase the funding for its programmess that support, empower and elevate the Black community to $20 million dollars over the next four years in the USA.
The amount will be invested in like adidas Legacy, a grassroots basketball platform built for underserved communities; the adidas School for Experiential Education in Design that creates career paths in footwear design; Honoring Black Excellence, an initiative honoring and supporting the Black community through sport.
The brand will also invest in university scholarships for Black employees by way of 50 annual scholarships for Black students at partner schools for the next five years.
Quota for Black Employees
A minimum of 30% of all new positions in the US at adidas and Reebok will be filled with Black and Latinx people. Adidas will also be announcing a target aimed at increasing representation of Black and Latinx people within its workforce in North America.
Over the last two weeks, adidas team leaders in North America Zion Armstrong and Matt O’Toole will work in close partnership with Black employees at adidas and Reebok to identify the actions to be taken.
The note further states: “We recognize the immense contribution of the Black community to our success and that of others. We promise to improve our company culture to ensure equity, diversity and opportunity. We understand that the fight against racism is one that must be fought continually and actively. We must and will do better.”
Adidas-subsidiary Reebok has also stated that it would not extend the deal as the official outfitter and sponsor of gym chain CrossFit, whose CEO and founder Greg Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19” in response to a tweet about the Black Lives Matter protests. Glassman later resigned from his position following further blowback after telling gym owners on a private Zoom call that “We’re not mourning for George Floyd – I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”
The ensuing fallout could prove devastating for the popular fitness regimen if more partners and gyms flee from associating with the brand. Across the globe, more than 14,000 gyms pay CrossFit $3,000 a year for its name.
Last week NBA legend Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand by Nike had pledged to contribute $100 million towards fight against racism.