Nike founder and Chairman Phil Knight doesn’t sound particularly angry about the implosion of Tiger Woods, even though his company has spent hundreds of millions associating his brand with them.
Basically, this is the risk you take.
You look at someone like Tiger Woods and this episode of infidelity. Does this change the concept of building brands around athletes?
Knight: Not for us. It’s part of the game.
Does a company like Nike or another company run a risk in building brands around athletes?
Knight: There’s always a risk. One of the things we always try to do when we have a big endorsement is check out the character and the pattern of the individual. But you’re not going to get it right all the time, and if you’re going to be in the business you have to recognise that.
With Tiger, a person who was believed to be of more upstanding character beforehand, is it possible to check for everything?
Knight: Obviously, he was one we checked out and he came out clean, and I think he’s been really great. When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.
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