It’s been a rough week for Nike.
Just days after the company’s partnership with the estate of Kobe Bryant ended, gymnast GOAT Simone Biles announced she is leaving their roster for a new apparel partnership with Athleta.
While not directly criticizing Nike, Biles emphasized that Athleta’s values are what attracted her to the brand.
“I felt like it wasn’t just about my achievements, it’s what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids,” she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing.”
With Athleta, Biles will have her own performance wear line — much like Allyson Felix, who signed with the brand in 2019 after also being with Nike.
When asked in the interview if she felt like she could have had her own line at Nike, Biles said: “Not necessarily, but I also feel like Athleta is committed to diversity and inclusion, of all women, backgrounds, ages, sizes, abilities and races.”
While Biles appreciates the opportunity to sign with such a big brand at a young age, she now feels as though she can make more constructive decisions about who she wants to surround herself with.
“Now that I’m older and kind of in the world a little bit more, I see and I know and I learn and I grow from things,” Biles added.