For Immediate Release: June 21, 2021
PUMA Joins Color Of Change in Sponsoring Olympic Gold Medalist Gwen Berry for 2021 Season
NATIONWIDE – Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, today announced PUMA will match the organization’s $15,000 sponsorship of Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry. Berry will be a part of PUMA’s She Moves Us platform, which highlights some of its female brand ambassadors and athletes who have moved culture and sports forward to inspire other women around the world.
The announcement comes after a series of corporations withdrew their support in response to Berry’s public display of protest against racial injustice during a gold medal ceremony at the Pan American Games in 2019. Since then, Berry, who has continued to be outspoken on racial and social justice issues, has lost more than 80 percent of her income due to the corporate sponsorship withdrawals.
In response, Color Of Change launched its first-ever athletic sponsorship to support Berry's Olympic bid and called on major corporations to match or exceed their commitments to Berry, along with comprehensive endorsement deals.
“I'm proud to be sponsored by Color Of Change and PUMA, who have both shown unwavering support to Black athletes as we speak out against the systems that harm us,” said Gwen Berry, U.S. Olympic hammer thrower. “When I took the opportunity to protest racial injustice at the Pan American Games in 2019, I faced retribution not only from financial sponsors, but from the International Olympic Committee. The message was clear: leave personal issues out of sports — but as a Black athlete, that is not a luxury afforded to us and I will not shut up and throw. The days of exploiting our abilities but ignoring our pain are over, and we will continue to use our platforms to influence corporations and sports leagues to recognize that the communities that built us are under attack. Policies like Rule 50 were created to silence Black athletes like myself, but I will not be intimidated into complacency. I am a Black woman on and off the field, and winning gold medals or competitions does not protect me from systemic injustice. I look forward to my partnership with PUMA and participating in the She Moves Us campaign alongside so many amazing athletes who are committed to creating a better future.”
“We commend PUMA for going #BeyondTheStatement and joining us in financially supporting Gwen Berry through the 2021 summer games. PUMA has a long history of supporting Black athletes, dating back to Tommie Smith, and we’re thrilled that they are continuing this commitment by sponsoring Gwen who has been a fearless leader in the fight for racial justice,” said Color Of Change's Senior Campaign Director Jade Magnus Ogunnaike. “Color Of Change and our millions of members will continue to pressure major corporations like Nike, Visa and Samsung, who chose to put out empty platitudes claiming they believe ‘Black Lives Matter' to actually prove it by making similar financial offers and leveraging their influence to call on the IOC to abolish Rule 50.”
“Gwen’s passion as an athlete and activist aligns with PUMA’s brand values,” said Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA. “Athletes have always been at the forefront of calling for social change, whether it’s Tommie Smith calling for universal equality or Skylar Diggins-Smith fighting for working mothers in the WNBA. As a brand, we have the responsibility to support those calling for changes and we are excited to welcome Gwen into our PUMA family.”
For years, Color Of Change has mobilized its millions of members to demand corporations and institutions stand behind and lift up Black athletes. The organization successfully helped pressure the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to abandon policies that authorize punishments against Team USA athletes who raise their fists or kneel on the medals stand in support of racial justice. In March, Color Of Change launched a new campaign to hold the NCAA's largest corporate sponsors, including AT&T, Coca-Cola and Capital One, accountable for enabling the systemic exploitation of Black college athletes. Last summer, Color Of Change also led the charge in demanding the NBA’s league office and team owners support their players’ strike. Color of Change is dedicated to demand accountability from the institutions that attempt to exploit Black players in order to ensure the political power and wellbeing of Black people in any industry.
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.