When it comes to who would be the winner of a “We will continue to endorse really evil people” competition, Nike would certainly take the Gold Medal.After all, in the past, they have stood by and continued to endorse the likes of Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Michael Vick (OK, they cancelled Vick’s contract when he went to jail, but renewed it within months of his release.)
Apparently, if you are a big enough name in sports, want to have well publicized extra-marital affairs, abuse the help, treat your team mates like dirt, and pump enough performance enhancing drugs into your system to send an elephant crazy… Welcome to the world of Nike sponsorship.
The latest demonstration of Nike’s patently hypocritical approach to sport is their announcement that they will continue with their sponsorship of Lance Armstrong. This after all the indisputable, and well documented evidence published over the last few weeks showing that Armstrong unquestionably gained every one of his victories through doping, that he spent millions on doctors, bribes, lawyers, etc. And that he ruined the career and lives of anyone who refused to go along with the program…
Here’s what Nike had to say about it… “We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted. Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.” This is hypocritical… Yes, Livestrong does good work, but it wouldn’t exist if Lance hadn’t made his name and fortune using the methods he did. Any way you look at it, the ends do not justify the means.
If Armstrong would face up to his current situation and admit to what he has done, asked for forgiveness and understanding, and expressed a wish to carry on with the valuable work of the foundation, he could very likely rehabilitate himself. But, in my opinion, he won’t… His recognised and well recorded ego will not allow him to do it.
NIKE should be ashamed of themselves for going along with this charade. Perhaps they’ll have second thoughts if Armstrong has to face possible legal issues as a result of the USADA report, which contends that he repeatedly lied under oath. If proven, this could also lead to Armstrong facing the repayment of bonuses, fines and interest payments totaling almost $10 million. Not to mention that as his USPS team was financed by US taxpayer’s dollars, really serious consequences could ensue for him and the many others involved in this massive operation. It will take a lot of Nike $300 trainers, football cleats, soccer boots and cycling shoes to cover those kinds of expenses!
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