Citing evidence that Lance Armstrong organized doping program during his Tour de France stint, popular shoe and clothing brand Nike has announced that it is terminating its contract with the cyclist.
However, the sporting brand will continue to support Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation that continues to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.
Announcing its disassociation with Armstrong, Nike issued a statement that it does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs. “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.”
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Even when several deals fell apart over the years due to doping allegations, Nike had stood by Armstrong for years. It had also named a building after Armstrong on its campus in Beaverton. However, as Nike has cut ties with Armstrong, the cyclist’s name will be removed from the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center, FOX12 reported.
Meanwhile, Armstrong too announced that he is stepping down as the chairman of the Livestrong cancer foundation. “I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation’s chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities. Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship,” Armstrong said in a statement.
Nike had used Armstrong for endorsing various products such as watches, T-shirts and shoes. Since 2004, Nike and the Livestrong Foundation had also raised more than $80 million through the sale of Livestrong wristbands, ESPN reported.
These wristbands are considered Armstrong’s greatest gift to fashion, with many celebrities sporting this trendy, yet cheap, accessory. Over the years, many high-profile names such as Lindsay Lohan, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Stiller, Ben Affleck, Usher and John Edwards have rocked these yellow bands.
But, now that popular brands have started disassociating themselves from Armstrong, it remains to be seen whether the celebrities continue endorsing the wristbands.