Nike Severs Ties with Lance Armstrong

Nike ends contract with Lance Armstrong NEW YORK (AP) - Nike (NKE) has severed ties with famed cyclist Lance Armstrong, citing insurmountable evidence that he participated in doping and misled the company about those activities for more than a decade.

The clothing and footwear company said Wednesday that it was terminating Armstrong's contract "with great sadness."

"Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner," it said in a statement.

Armstrong said Wednesday, just minutes before the announcement from Nike, that he was stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity so that the organization can steer clear of the whirlwind surrounding its founder.

A representative for Armstrong could not be immediately reached for comment.

Nike Inc., based in Beaverton, Ore., said it plans to continue its support for Livestrong. Anheuser-Busch and the sunglasses company Oakley have already pledged ongoing support for the organization.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report last week detailing allegations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams when he won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.

The 41-year-old Armstrong, who overcame life-threatening testicular cancer, retired from cycling a year ago. He announced in August that he would no longer fight the doping allegations that have dogged him for years.

Nike's courting of top celebrity athletes is well known, as are the inherent risks companies assume when doing so.

After Tiger Woods ran his SUV over a fire hydrant in November 2009, eventually bringing to light his infidelities, Accenture, AT&T Inc. (T) and Gatorade cut ties with him. But EA Sports and Nike stood by the golfer.

Nike signed NFL quarterback Michael Vick to a contract during his rookie year in 2001, but ended that pact in August 2007 after he filed a plea agreement admitting his involvement in a dogfighting ring. Vick spent 21 months in prison.

Nike re-signed Vick, who plays with the Philadelphia Eagles, in July 2011. The company said at that time that it didn't condone Vick's actions, but was supportive of the positive changes he had made to better himself off the field.

Shares of Nike edged slightly higher in early trading.

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Lance is an inspiration for his survival against cancer. It is sad about the dope hope.

October 17 2012 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Livestrong? Should be Livedoped ! What a phoney.

October 17 2012 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It was fun while it lasted. But thanks Lance for giving us such happiness, competitive spirit, and value of teamwork. You gave us hope..... Even though it was fake

October 17 2012 at 1:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Well it seems that both parties are hypocritical.
Neil won races because of his talent and taking drugs to enhance those talents. The shoes had nothing to do with his success.
Now, of course, Nike has to terminate his contract because they cannot continue their facade under those
conditions and pretend the shoes had everything to do with them.......

October 17 2012 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, the message here is what? Advertisers don't care if you screw over your wife and woman used along the way in a long journey of constant infidelity, but they care if you give yourself cancer in order to gain a competitive edge on your other male competitors? Hmmm!

October 17 2012 at 11:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply