Those contributions have helped Adidas attract shoppers in the US and beyond. “I think that it is felt in all areas of our company,” Bond said. “It just goes to show a lack of accountability when it comes to the culture that we show people and our consumers.”

Adidas has now publicly acknowledged the issue. On June 11, the company posted a statement to Instagram saying, “We’ve celebrated athletes and artists in the Black community and used their image to define ourselves culturally as a brand, but missed the message in reflecting such little representation within our walls.” It added it was time to “own up” to its silence.

The employee involved with senior leadership said they believed Adidas’s recent measures to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the company were undertaken because of the intense pressure from staff and public scrutiny, not because it had truly understood it was the right thing to do.

Still, more than one employee Quartz spoke with pointed out that they felt the company could be different. “I just want it to be better for the next generation of kids coming up who see working for one of these big brands as a life goal of theirs,” said Armon. “Maybe they don’t have that crushed once they get here.”

Adidas had reorganized repeatedly in the past for business reasons, he added. It’s time it reorganized for diversity.

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