Shoe and apparel company Nike has terminated it’s long-standing endorsement deal with embattled cyclist Lance Armstrong after nearly 15 years of sponsorship.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”
The news of Nike’s termination with Armstrong comes on the same day that Armstrong resigned as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation that Armstrong created to help raise money and awareness for cancer research.
Nike will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation. At present writing there are more than four dozen Livestrong items on the Nike website. Livestrong, which started with the yellow-rubber bracelets, has raised millions of dollars for cancer research over the past decade.
Michael Vick is the only other athlete to ever have an endorsement deal terminated by Nike. Nike ended it’s relationship with Vick after he was convicted of raising dogs for dog fighting.
Armstrong rose to fame as a surviver of testicular cancer after being given less than a 10% chance to live. He went on to win the Tour de France seven times in helping to make cycling more popular in America than it had ever been before.
The USADA has since stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour titles after a 200 page report detailed his extensive doping program that helped him avoid detection and authorities. Over twenty-five witnesses, including a dozen teammates, testified against Armstrong in the report.
Is the next step for Armstrong the crying press conference where he confesses to all of the doping charges and begs forgiveness from his fans, America, and the world?
America has a big heart for forgiving athletes and politicians that come clean with the truth. So you can likely count on it at some point.
UPDATE: Anheuser-Busch has announced that it is severing ties with Armstrong as well: “We will not renew our relationship with Lance Armstrong when current contract expires”
UPDATE 2: Trek bicycles and Giro helmets have terminated their relationships with Armstrong as well today.
UPDATE 3: Honey Stinger and 24 Hour Fitness join in the fire Lance Armstrong party per Darren Rovell.