Nike to Rename Alberto Salazar Building Following the Controversial Coach’s Lifetime Ban From Running

Nike is renaming the Alberto Salazar building on its Beaverton, Ore. campus, the company confirmed to FN.

The renaming follows a July ruling from the U.S. Center for SafeSport that bans the former Nike coach from long-distance running. The building will be renamed Next%, according to an internal memo viewed by the Willamette Week.

“This change follows the SafeSport decision to permanently ban Alberto from coaching,” Nike told FN in a statement. “The nature of the allegations and the finding of a lifetime ban make it appropriate to change the name of the building.”

Salazar, a former coach with Nike’s Oregon project, was banned from long-distance running in July by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The ruling, which is subject to appeal, cited sexual and emotional misconduct.

Nike employees protested at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in December of 2019 when the building reopened after months of renovations. The protest was meant to “raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees,” a flier advertising the march read.

Salazar’s alleged misconduct was brought to light in a 2019 New York Times op-ed video featuring former teen track star Mary Cain, who alleged psychological and verbal abuse from her coach, Salazar. Cain said that Salazar demanded excessive weight loss to the point where she lost her period, broke several bones, and suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. Cain’s Nike teammates confirmed allegations made against Salazar.

“On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training,” Salazar wrote in a 2019 statement. “If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry.”

Separately, in October 2019, Salazar was suspended from the sport for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Association after it was discovered that he had trafficked testosterone, tampered or attempted to tamper with the doping control process and administered a banned IV infusion. Two weeks later, Nike said it would “wind down” the Nike Oregon Project but continued to support Salazar amid his appeal.

In a leaked October 2019 memo to employees, former Nike CEO Mark Parker refuted the doping allegations and said that he would “never condone cheating of any kind in sport or otherwise and I expect you [Nike employees] wouldn’t either.”

Since then, Nike’s treatment of female and minority employees and athletes has been in the spotlight. In recent months, Nike has made renewed commitments to diversity and equity initiatives.

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