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Nike to end financial penalties for pregnant athletes – report

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US sporting goods giant Nike, under fire for financially penalizing sponsored athletes who become pregnant, is changing its maternity policy, the New York Times reported.

“We’ve recognized Nike, Inc., can do more, and there is an important opportunity for the sports industry collectively to evolve to better support female athletes,” Sandra Carreon-John, a Nike spokeswoman, told the newspaper in an email on Friday.

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According to the Times, Nike plans to waive performance-pay reductions for 12 months for athletes who decide to have a baby.

The move comes after Olympic track and field star Allyson Felix joined a chorus of critics.

Felix, the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals, wrote in the New York Times she had been offered a vastly reduced contract by Nike since taking time off in 2018 during her pregnancy.

The 33-year-old spoke out after US team-mates Alysia Montano and Kara Goucher levelled similar allegations against Nike as part of an investigation by the Times.

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“They told stories we athletes know are true, but have been too scared to tell publicly: If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward,” wrote Felix, who gave birth to a baby girl in December.

She opted to start a family despite concern over renewal of her Nike sponsorship deal that expired at the end of 2017.

The company offered her a new deal that was much less lucrative and balked at her request for guarantees that she would not be penalized if she performed below her best “in the months surrounding childbirth.”

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“If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?” Felix wrote.

Nike said in a statement last week that it had “standardized our approach across all sports to support our female athletes during pregnancy, but we recognize we can go even further.

“Moving forward, our contracts for female athletes will include written terms that reinforce our policy.”

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In a memo addressed to Nike employees on Friday — reported by both the New York Times and Bloomberg — Amy Montagne, a company vice president and its general manager for global properties, wrote that she was “saddened” to learn of Felix’s experience.

“This has been a humbling event,” Montagne wrote, adding the company was reaching out to sponsored women athletes to advise them of policy changes.

Two-time Olympian Goucher responded with cautious optimism to the New York Times report, but said she was waiting to hear from Nike.

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“Really excited about this but genuine question, Will Nike stop suspending women without pay or is this just about reductions?” Goucher, who had a son in 2010, said on Twitter.

“I, and the other women I know, were suspended without pay, not reduced. We want to see this policy in writing and then celebrate!”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Maddow walks through existence of a ‘whistleblower’ alleging the IRS is mishandling Trump’s taxes

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Thursday on the "confetti canon" of new filings in the legal battle between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the House Ways and Means Committee over access to President Donald Trump's tax returns.

Maddow reported on Exhibit QQ in the latest filings, which is a letter from Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"On July 29, 2019, the Committee received an unsolicited communication from a Federal employee setting forth credible allegations of 'evidence of possible misconduct' -- specifically, potential 'inappropriate efforts to influence' the mandatory audit program," Exhibit QQ read.

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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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