After a nine year relationship, Nike sporting goods company announces they are ending their relationship with the former Lance Armstrong Foundation, known now as the LIVESTRONG Cancer Foundation. LIVESTRONG Cancer Charity changed it’s name last October after Armstrong was pushed off the board due to multiple dope charges. Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to help him win the Tour de France seven times. What a lesson to the entire community built up around a single person’s story of truth and victory.
Together, with Nike, the LIVESTRONG organization brought hope and inspiration to over 26 million cancer survivors worldwide. Nike helped the LIVESTRONG Charity raise over $100 million dollars to support cancer surviors, and was the reason why their yellow bracelets (which sold over 80 million) became a international symbol for cancer survivors. Nike announced “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. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.” Despite the split, LIVESTRONG officials say that they are “deeply grateful” to Nike for what they have been helped to do.
Nike has a long history of standing by other persecuted athletes, such as Tiger Woods and a 1 billion dollar investment, after his 2009 sex scandal. They also stayed with Kobe Bryant and a sex scandal in 2003, where charges were eventually dropped. Nike is known as the biggest athletic endorsement company in the world and LIVESTRONG will take quite a blow from losing there association with Nike. There are plans to remove Armstrong’s name on the building named after him on their campus in Beaverton, Oregon.
Armstrong vows to continue his service and support to the cancer community to which he says he and his family have dedicated their lives. He also says that he will continue to be a visible advocate for cancer survivors. He stated last Wednesday regarding these events: “This organisation, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart, therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.“
Overall, this is a shout out to all people, athletes or otherwise, to honor your contracts and relationships, and not cave into to the internal pressures that would cause you to deceive those who trust you – just for the sake of a perceived ‘win’. In the end, in this story, no one wins. Those involved in the organization feel let down and misled by their, once leader. True, we all make mistakes, and no one should be held to their past forever, but when you place yourself in the public eye, you have a responsibility to those who observe and take part in your creations to act with integrity and honor. This is a lesson to us all.
Nike is exemplifying great integrity to pull out of such a strong partnership and will likely receive many blessings due to their commitment to truth and honor. It is nice to see such a large corporation committed to such high principles in this day and age.
Written by: Stasia Bliss