Adidas suspends Tyson Gay sponsorship

German sports kit giant Adidas on Monday said that it had suspended its sponsorship with Tyson Gay, after the US sprinter tested positive for a banned substance.

Adidas suspends Tyson Gay sponsorship
Photo: DPA

The company said in a statement that it was “shocked” at revelations that he failed a drugs test but was implementing the terms of his deal.

“Even if we presume his innocence until proven otherwise, our contract with Tyson is currently suspended,” adidas said.

“adidas has a clear policy on doping and drug use — each of the agreements with our athletes include a clear clause which states that the agreement shall be terminated by adidas if the athlete is found guilty of the possession or use of drugs or any other prohibited substance by the relevant governing sports body having jurisdiction over the athlete.”

Gay, 30, is one of the four fastest men in history and has a personal best of 9.69secs for the 100m and 19.58secs for the 200m.

He was the triple 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay world champion in 2007 and came silver in the half-lap sprint at the 2009 edition but failed to translate that success to Olympic level through bad luck and injury.

On Sunday, he confirmed that he was informed that he had tested positive for a banned stimulant at the US National Trials in June.

He insisted, though, that he had “never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules”.

A second high-profile sprinter, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, also confirmed on Sunday that he had failed a drugs test.


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Germany’s Adidas and Puma join Facebook ad boycott over hate speech

German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma said Tuesday they would join a growing advertiser boycott over hate speech against Facebook and Instagram in July, following major consumer companies like Levi's and Coca-Cola.

Germany's Adidas and Puma join Facebook ad boycott over hate speech
Puma's headquarter Herzogenaurach. Photo: DPA

“Puma will join the #StopHateForProfit campaign…throughout July,” a spokeswoman told AFP, citing a social media hashtag organised by social justice activists taken up by some of the companies.

The leaping-cat brand “is part of an overall effort to create positive change and improvement in Facebook's platform by demanding the removal of inaccurate, hostile and harmful conversation,” she added.

While he did not reference the hashtag, a spokesman for Puma's hometown rival Adidas said the company would “develop criteria to develop and maintain a cosmopolitan and safe environment that will apply to ourselves and our partners” during a Facebook ad pause also encompassing US subsidiary Reebok.

“Racism, discrimination and hateful comments should have no place either in our company or in our society,” he added.

Facebook shares clawed back Monday some of the $50 billion in market value they had shed as the advertiser boycott picked up pace last week.

Around 200 companies including giants like Starbucks and Unilever have followed the appeal of civil rights groups like the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League to stage the July boycott.

The movement against online hate speech has picked up steam following George Floyd's May 25th death at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis.

READ ALSO: Tens of thousands rally across Germany against racism and police brutality

On Friday, Facebook had said it would ban a “wider category of hateful content” in ads and add tags to posts that are “newsworthy” but violate platform rules — following the lead of Twitter, which has used such labels on tweets from US President Donald Trump.

But experts have highlighted the social network's massive advertiser base of small- and medium-sized companies chasing over 2.6 billion worldwide users, potentially limiting the impact of big-name boycotts.

Adidas has itself been in the sights of the global anti-discrimination movement.

Earlier this month, the three-stripe brand rejected claims by employees that it was not doing enough to combat racism, after its human resources chief last year described such complaints as “noise” only discussed in the US.