NIKE, Inc.(NYSE:NKE) has finally decided to end their relationship with cyclist Lance Armstrong, after stating that the undeniable evidence of him having doped, and been with misled company is not something which the sports brand wishes to condone. On Wednesday, the sports company, which specializes in shoes, said that they were going to end their contract with Armstrong, but that this is not done without regret. The company is a huge brand name, and getting connected to illegal drugs in not something which Nike would want to do anytime soon. The company made it clear that the contract signified the condoning of such actions, and they were not prepared to do that. They said that performance enhancing, illegal drugs are not something they will stand for.
A few mere minutes before this announcement by Nike, Lance Armstrong went public to declare that he was going to step down as the authority figure for his Livestrong Foundation, which is a cancer fighting organization. He said that he did not want the controversy surrounding him, to affect the foundation in any adverse way. However, despite his announcement, a representative for Armstrong could not be contacted for more clarifications. Despite the fall-out with Armstrong, though, Nike will still continue to be pledged to Livestrong. Nike is not the only company which has decided to do so. The sunglasses company, Oakley, have pledged for ongoing support towards the organization. Anheuser-Busch has also done so.
The reports and allegations concerning Armstrong’s doping habits were released in a detailed report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Lance Armstrong and his team had indulged in performance enhancing drugs for a good seven years, during the Tour De France, from 1999 to 2005. The 41 year old cyclist, who retired a while back, said that he was too tired to fight the doping allegations any more.
While Nike has always taken in the best of athletes as their brand ambassadors, and they have always tried to maintain close relations with these celebrities, the risk of them not living up to their persona is always a threat to the sports company. They always have to think about the downside of the courting.