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SBD/August 24, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Lance Armstrong Stripped Of Titles, But Nike Says It Will Continue Support
Published August 24, 2012
STAND BY YOUR MAN: Longtime sponsor Nike is “standing by” Armstrong, saying in a statement it "plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors." In Portland, Erik Siemers wrote for more than a decade, Armstrong “has been one of the brightest lights in Nike’s galaxy of stars,” and his name adorns “one of the fitness centers on the Nike campus." However, Thursday’s developments presented “just the latest challenge for Nike and its stable of troubled athletes” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/23). ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell wrote even though Nike said that it will continue to stick by Armstrong and his foundation, “things will slowly change.” Rovell: “One has to think that the Livestrong line … will decrease in number. As will the donations to Armstrong's foundation, especially from the people who were inspired to donate by the miracle of his story. It's not as good a story, they'll say” (ESPN.com, 8/23). But in Houston, Randy Harvey writes, “Long after anyone recalls anything about the seemingly interminable controversy over Armstrong, performance-enhancing drugs and his seven Tour de France championships, Livestrong, with its yellow bracelets, will have contributed millions of dollars to fighting cancer.” USADA can “never take that away from Armstrong or the cancer patients who have been given hope because of his foundation” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/24).
MORNING SHOW ROUNDUP: The news of Armstrong abandoning his fight was mentioned early in the broadcasts of all three network morning shows Friday. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan appeared on ABC's "GMA" and said, “This is a very sad day in sports. When you think of Lance Armstrong, you think of what he means to so many people, especially those fighting cancer” (“GMA,” ABC, 8/24). Bicycling Magazine Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax on "CBS This Morning" said Armstrong is “choosing the least-worst option in front of him." Flax: "He’s trying to find a place where he can take the moral high ground and claim he’s the victim of a witch hunt and it’s a damage control move.” CBS’ Armen Keteyian said USADA “has a stake in this politically to prove that Lance Armstrong has been doping to send a message to other athletes” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 8/24). NBCSports.com's Alan Abrahamson on NBC's "Today" said, “People have their own opinions about Lance Armstrong. He is probably the most polarizing figure on the Olympic or international stage.” Abrahamson added, “Cycling needs to take a really hard, solid look at itself and say, ‘We are a sport with a serious, serious issue. We’ve got to start cleaning this sport up’” (“Today,” NBC, 8/24).