Adidas: ‘It's time to own up to our silence’

Remaining silent is 'not a neutral position'

Adidas: ‘It's time to own up to our silence’

Adidas is “owning up to its silence” over the Black Lives Matter movement after a coalition of employees reportedly challenged the apparel maker to confront issues of discrimination among its own staff.

Workers who have been calling for change within the organization have laid out their demands in a 32-page treatise. They urged leaders to take action against injustices that allegedly continue to happen in their workplace, Business Insider reported after reviewing the internal communication.

READ MORE: Bezos decries 'sickening' answer to Black Lives Matter post

Adidas responded with a slide deck on social media, outlining plans to improve diversity hiring and bolster community programs for disadvantaged sectors.

“For most of you, this message is too little, too late,” Adidas said. “We’ve celebrated athletes and artists in the Black community and used their image to define ourselves culturally as a brand, but missed the message in reflecting such little representation within our walls.”

Staying silent now – in the face of tragedies such as the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – is “not a neutral position when the people we should be standing with live in fear of police brutality due to systemic racism,” the company said.

Taylor and Floyd are Black Americans who died in separate incidents involving the police.

READ MORE: High-profile leaders respond to US race protests

“With that in mind, it’s our people who we owe this to the most,” Adidas said. “Our Black co-workers have shown us through their words and actions what leadership looks like, and the changes Adidas can make as a brand. They’ve led the response that we will continue to implement together.”

Adidas vowed to ensure “fair and equitable hiring” across the organization and “remove hiring bias, increase representation and create more accountability and oversight”.

The company also said it is pledging a total of US$120m through grassroots programs that address racial disparities. It will also finance the education of 50 Black scholars each year.


This is our commitment to the Black community, and the world. We can change, and we will. This is just the start.

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