Alex Morgan's latest deal with Nike features groundbreaking maternity protections, including guaranteed pay for 18 months

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports‘It’s not like women can’t do both—our bodies are incredible—it’s the fact that this world isn’t really set up for women to thrive,’ Alex Morgan said.
  • USWNT star Alex Morgan is pregnant with her first child.
  • In a recent interview, the prolific striker revealed to Glamour that her latest contract with Nike – one of her leading sponsors – includes remarkable maternity protections.
  • The deal features guaranteed, irreducible pay for 18 months, regardless of whether or not the two-time World Cup champion can compete.
  • Morgan’s agreement with Nike comes months after Olympic runners sponsored by the company spoke out about its lacklustre maternity policies.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Alex Morgan may not be able to compete on the field right now, but she’s still moving the needle off of it.

The prolific US Women’s National Team striker is pregnant with her first child – a daughter due in April. Morgan considered her own pregnancy experience – and those of many of her fellow high-profile women in sports – while negotiating her most recent contract with one of her leading sponsors.

Morgan’s new deal with Nike includes remarkable maternity protections. According to Glamour, the agreement includes 18 months of guaranteed, irreducible pay, regardless of whether or not the two-time World Cup champion can compete.

Alex MorganJeff Curry/USA Today SportsAlex Morgan.

“It really brought up an important point that a lot of brands who have male executives in place don’t think of initially,” Morgan told Glamour’s Macaela MacKenzie. “My Nike contract was up and we just re-signed for a long period, and they’re extremely supportive.”

It wasn’t lost on Morgan that Nike had recently come under fire for its lacklustre maternity policies. Decorated Olympic runners like Alysia Montaño, Kara Goucher, Phoebe Wright, and Allyson Felix had spoken out about the company’s previous practice of penalising its female athletes for having children during their careers.

“Getting pregnant is the kiss of death for a female athlete,” Wright, who was a runner sponsored by Nike from 2010 through 2016, told The New York Times last year. “There’s no way I’d tell Nike if I were pregnant.”

According to The Times’ reporting, Nike had refused to guarantee salaries for its female track athletes during their pregnancies and in the months immediately following. As a result, many of the new mothers who donned the Swoosh throughout their careers felt an incredible pressure to return to training.

REUTERS/Dylan MartinezKara Goucher celebrates her third-place finish at the women’s 10,000 metre finals at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Championship.

“I felt like I had to leave [my son] in the hospital, just to get out there and run, instead of being with him like a normal mum would,” Goucher said. “I’ll never forgive myself for that.”

The outcry that followed forced Nike’s hand, and the company announced an updated policy soon after – one that Morgan directly benefits from.

“Casual fans of the game were just like, ‘Why would she do something like that during the peak of her career?'” Morgan told MacKenzie of the response to her pregnancy announcement. “It’s not like women can’t do both-our bodies are incredible-it’s the fact that this world isn’t really set up for women to thrive.”

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