29 May 2020 - Article
Simone Manuel, the twenty-two year old swimming star from Sugar Land, Texas, earlier this year confirmed that she would forgo her final year of NCAA eligibility and swim professionally. Simone is a fourteen time NCAA champion who turned in a rather historic performance at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Last week, Simone signed with her first professional sponsor, swimwear brand TYR Sport. Simone's contract with TYR is unique as it is the first athlete sponsorship agreement to incorporate an “inclusion” rider. Simone's inclusion rider ensures that TYR extends meaningful opportunities to traditionally underrepresented groups and that diversity be reflected in the creative efforts she pursues with the brand.
At Withers we encourage the athletes we work with to recognize that they are much more than athletes. Many athletes today are also their own brands and businesses. They tend to be entrepreneurs, investors, and philanthropists, in addition to athletes. Athletes also have a platform from which to support the principles they believe in. As any brand and business would, athletes should, to the extent possible, ensure that their principles are supported by the partners they work with.
Going forward, we expect inclusions riders to become common for athletes seeking supportive partners and brands.
This article was written with contributions by Nabeela Latif.