On Monday morning, Nike sent its employees a memo announcing it had renamed the Alberto Salazar Building on its Beaverton campus. The building is now called Next%.
“Today, we are sharing that Nike has changed the Alberto Salazar building name to Next%,” says the memo, obtained by WW. “This change follows the SafeSport decision to permanently ban Alberto from coaching. The nature of the allegations and the finding of the lifetime ban makes it appropriate to change the name of the building.”
Nike representatives confirmed the memo’s validity to WW. The sportswear giant had not released any public announcement about the name change as of Monday evening.
That line in the memo was the only mention of Salazar, a figure the company has been strikingly quiet about since the beginning of his precipitous fall from grace in 2019, when he received a four-year coaching suspension due to violations of anti-doping rules.
Just two months later, professional runner Mary Cain, who trained under Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project, alleged that Salazar had body shamed and emotionally abused her throughout her time at Nike. After Cain came forward, a slew of other female runners who trained under Salazar echoed Cain’s story with their own allegations of abuse.
Just months after Cain’s allegations, WW broke the news of a Nike employee walkout, where hundreds of workers marched out of their buildings, demanding the company take accountability for Salazar’s actions and demanding an external investigation into the allegations.
The walkout happened on the same day as the building named after Salazar was reopening after undergoing renovations.
During that protest, flyers were handed to employees telling them that if they spoke to press, they could be fired. A Nike spokesperson told WW at the time that the flyers were not an official Nike document.
Nearly two years later, Nike is changing the building’s name. The decision comes after Salazar was banned permanently from coaching track and field on July 26, 2021, by the U.S Center for SafeSport. It sanctioned him for both emotional and sexual misconduct during his time coaching.
Nike reserves the naming of buildings as one of its highest honors for the athletes whose marketing partnerships lend the company’s products their luster.
But Nike appears to be breaking that tradition: The new name of the former Salazar building, Next%, is a reference to one of its latest design projects: a new line of running shoes.