Following last week’s detailed doping report, Nike announced it is dropping Lance Armstrong as spokesman. However, Nike will continue to support Lance Armstrong’s foundation. Livestrong.
Last week, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a detailed report containing 26 statements from witnesses that say Lance Armstrong participated in doping. 11 of the 26 witnesses are Lance Armstrong’s former teammates. As a result, Nike announced it has decided to drop the seven-time Tour de France winner as their spokesperson.
“Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him” Nike announced Wednesday. The company added that it “does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner”.
But Nike won’t cut support for Livestrong foundation. “Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer” reads the company’s statement.
The news about Nike dropping Lance Armstrong as their spokesman came shortly after the cyclist’s own resignation as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation aka Livestrong. Armstrong said that he is stepping down to “spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding [his] cycling career”. He remains however on the foundation’s board.
“I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors” said Lance Armstrong in his resignation statement.
But Nike isn’t the only company dropping Lance Armstrong as spokesman. Last week’s detailed report on doping had RadioShack Corp. cut ties to the athlete too. “I can say that RadioShack has no current obligations with Lance Armstrong” a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
Much like Nike, RadioShack will continue support for the foundation. The company said it “continues to be proud of what we’ve accomplished with our customers in generating more than $16 million to date for the fight against cancer”.
Last week’s report was aggressively criticized by Lance Armstrong’s lawyer, Tim Herman. “USADA has continued its government funded witch hunt of only Mr. Armstrong, a retired cyclist, in violation of its own rules and due process”.
The report depicts Armstrong as the main culprit and founder of the doping network.
Only Armstrong, his wife, his teammates and his sponsors can break anti-doping rules — for almost a decade — and also leave us feeling bad for finally enforcing them.
Collective hypocrisy and acquiescence had never reached such heights.