By Ken Reed

HBO’s new episode of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” has a very troubling segment on runner abuse allegations at Nike. What’s especially troubling is that Nike is paying the legal costs for their disgraced and suspended running coach Alberto Salazar. Running prodigy Mary Cain, former Olympian Kara Goucher, and elite male runner Dorian Ulrey come forward to detail Nike’s controversial Oregon Project.

Goucher was the driving force behind getting Salazar banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Despite the fact Salazar, Nike’s long-time track coach, has been banned from coaching by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for encouraging his athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. And despite the fact that former Nike Oregon Project runners — including Cain, Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley — have accused Salazar of abusive coaching techniques, including body-shaming them, Nike executives decided it was okay to reopen a renovated building, named after Salazar, and put images of Salazar all over the inside of the building’s walls.

And they apparently feel it’s proper to support Salazar, by not only cutting ties with him but by paying his legal defense expenses. The reason could be that Nike executives were aware of Salazar’s methods and subtly approved of them. That possibility is alluded to in the “Real Sports” story.

Here’s a clip from the HBO “Real Sports” segment.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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