20 November 2019

Nike athlete Tianna Bartoletta slams own sponsor over response to Mary Cain's abuse allegations against Alberto Salazar

Reigning Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta has hit out at her own sponsor Nike after their response to Mary Cain's allegations of abuse under the regime of disgraced coach Alberto Salazar.

Taking to her personal blog, fellow American Bartoletta criticised the partial apology offered to middle-distance runner Cain, who alleged physical and emotional abuse, saying "it hasn’t been a good media year for my main sponsor. I applaud Mary for 'getting out' even if for a moment she wanted back in.

"What I didn’t expect to see in the published statement was the seemingly harmless line about Mary Cain wanting to return to the Oregon Project and how she didn’t raise any of those concerns when she was looking to return."

Writing on tiannabee.com, she said: "That line released in the statement by Nike, ignores how abuse and its victims operate. It ignores the fact that not only do abuse victims often stay with their abusers, it also ignores the phenomena that some victims return after leaving."

Earlier this month, Cain said the staff at Nike were always saying “to get better I had to get thinner … and thinner … and thinner," and that Salazar was constantly telling her to lose weight.

Bartoletta compared Cain's suffering to her own experience in divorce courts saying: "Alberto apologises but not really because his apology featured the words 'if' and 'maybe'. But I expected that from him." 

The Olympic champion, 34, described the statement as "f***** up" for including that line to try and discredit Cain's story, then added: "That line was included as if to say, 'if it was as bad as you say why did you want back in'?"

Alberto Salazar is facing yet more criticism (AP News)

Cain, who first trained under Salazar as a 16-year-old, has said she stopped having periods for three years and as a result of osteoporosis broke five bones.She even became suicidal as a result.

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