Nick Symmonds might be off U.S. team for World Championships

Nick Symmonds
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U.S. 800m champion Nick Symmonds will be off the U.S. roster for this month’s World Track and Field Championships if he does not sign a contract by Sunday requiring him to wear Nike-branded Team USA gear at all team functions at Worlds in Beijing (Aug. 22-30), a USA Track and Field spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

“All athletes who wish to represent Team USA at World Outdoors must sign the Statement of Conditions by August 9 to be included on our roster and to compete for Team USA,” USATF’s Jill Geer said in an email. “Athletes who sign it and meet the other qualifications (performance standards, place finish at USA Outdoors, etc.) are on the team. Those who don’t sign are not on the team. These requirements have been in place for many years.

“To date, Nick has not signed the document.”

Symmonds said he will not sign the document and will sue USA Track and Field if it keeps him off the team, according to Sports Business Daily.

The document Symmonds has not signed includes this language:

I will dress appropriately and respectfully for all “official” Team functions, wearing the designated Team uniforms provided by USATF. I understand that USATF’s sponsor contract for uniforms depends upon athletes wearing the uniform and using the uniform items at competitions, award ceremonies, “official” Team press conferences, and other “official” Team functions, and that I shall not participate in any of these activities with a logo of any competitor of USATF’s sponsor affixed to me in any manner whatsoever.

Symmonds, who won Worlds 800m silver in 2013 as a Nike athlete, has been sponsored by Brooks and not Nike since January 2014.

Nike and USA Track and Field have a sponsorship deal through 2040.

“My concern is that … how far back can they go?” Symmonds said of USATF, according to Sports Business Daily. “If they wanted to, they could say I have to wear Nike from the moment that I make the team at USAs, and then all of a sudden they’re buying up the entire season. USATF and Nike are just taking way too much of the pie, so far as to violate my rights as an athlete.”

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