Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been dropped by Nike, on the heels of Armstrong’s resignation from his post as chairman of of his cancer foundation Livestrong, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.
The moves come one week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released details of its findings on Armstrong’s alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.
In a statement on its website, Nike said: “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.”
The statement adds that Nike will continue to support Livestrong initiatives aimed at helping people affected by cancer. Livestrong has reportedly raised more than $470 million since 1997.
Following the release of the extensive USADA report on Oct. 10, 2012, Nike initially indicated it planned to continue to support Armstrong. Here is the statement Nike released at that time — it was the same statement the company released in August when Armstrong announced he was not going to fight the USADA charges: "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."
“Mary Remuzzi, a Nike spokeswoman, declined to comment in a telephone interview on the financial details of the contract or why the company changed its stance in the last week on Armstrong, 41, whom it had sponsored since 1996,” the story reports.
The piece adds: “USADA’s report said Armstrong’s career was ‘fueled from start to finish by doping.’ Armstrong, the record seven-time Tour de France winner who had his titles stripped by the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based agency in August, required teammates to use banned substances or face dismissal from his squad, according to a 202-page summary of its case against him.”
Shortly before the USADA report came out, Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA, released a statement saying: “The evidence demonstrates that the ‘Code of Silence’ of performance-enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do. From Day 1, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling’s history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again.”
The Bloomberg report notes: “Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping, saying he has never failed a drug test. He said today he was stepping down from Livestrong, which he started in 1996, to ‘spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career.’”
TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross blogged last week about the Armstrong situation. Please click here to read that piece.