Adidas is getting some play today for its announcement of the obvious: The company won't drop endorsed athletes if they come out publicly as gay.
I say it's "the obvious" because there's no way in hell a company like Adidas would fire anyone for being gay, and no reasonable person with any knowledge of the state of gay equality today would think otherwise. Adidas has previously endorsed marriage equality for same-sex couples. The company previously had a deal (that we could not confirm is still active) with British Olympic diver Tom Daley, whom they made the "face" of their NEO label. Last year it received an HRC Corporate Equality Index score of 80 (out of 100).
While obvious, it's still nice to see the company make another overtly positive statement embracing LGBT athletes. One of the big fears we traditionally hear circling closeted professional athletes is the potential for them to lose endorsement deals if they come out publicly.
What would be more powerful, however, is for the company to actually endorse out athletes. There are so many incredible professional athletes looking for deals like this. If Adidas wants to put its money where its mouth is, it will soon announcement endorsement deals with more out LGBT athletes.
Maybe I'm being a bit cynical here, but I'm just tired of anyone thinking press releases are real work toward equality.
Adidas has been trying over the last couple of years to play a lot of catch-up to Nike, which has set the bar for the embrace of the LGBT community by a sports-apparel company. Nike has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to work in the LGBT sports space, has had an entire line of successful shoes and apparel dedicated to the community (the popular #BETRUE campaign), and has embraced the out gay athletes it has sponsored, including Brittney Griner and Jason Collins.