A week after Lance Armstrong was hit with damning allegations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Nike announced on Wednesday that it was severing ties with the legendary cyclist. The embroiled athlete, who won the Tour de France seven times in his 14-year career, was banned from the sport for life and subsequently stripped of his titles by USADA after being accused of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. "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," said the company in a statement. "Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in any manner." Armstrong, who insists the allegations are bogus, has also stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity. Should Nike have stood by Armstrong? Or is cutting ties with the former champion the right move for the sportswear giant?
This was inevitable: "He cheated, he won, he denied cheating," says Jason McIntyre at Big Lead Sports. Even Armstrong's so-called "friends" ratted him out to USADA. "I anticipate hours upon hours of TV time spent today crucifying Armstrong," but quite honestly, who cares? "Only those with their heads in the sand didn't see this coming."
"Nike dropped Lance Armstrong"
And clearly, the charges are serious: "If anyone still believes Lance Armstrong didn't cheat," they really must stop kidding themselves, says Christine Brennan at USA Today. Whenever Nike drops an athlete, you know they've done something "terribly, irreparably wrong." The sportswear giant stood by Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, and Brett Favre during a variety of sex scandals. Not Armstrong. That tells you something.
Brenann: Nike knows Lance did it"
C'mon. Nike probably suspected Lance of doping all along: "I'm not gonna bother defending Lance Armstrong," says Drew Magary at Deadspin. "But seriously, f--k Nike." It's not exactly courageous of them to dump a retired athlete "well after they'd squeezed every last useful promotional drop out of him." Nike says it feels "betrayed," but let's get real: Armstrong was doping in a sport in which everyone dopes. "The false naivete is almost blinding."
"Nike dumps Lance Armstrong in the smarmiest way possible"