Nike Drops Lance Armstrong

The biggest supporter of cyclist Lance Armstrong has left his side.

The world’s largest shoe and apparel company, Nike, announced Wednesday that it has terminated its endorsement deal with Armstrong.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

Nike’s announcement came on the same day that Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his cancer-fighting foundation Livestrong so that the organization can focus on its mission instead of doping allegations against its founder.

It is believed that Armstrong is now the second athlete who has been terminated by Nike. Nike terminated its contract with quarterback Michael Vick in 2007 following his plea agreement on dogfighting charges, but the company re-signed him in 2011. Endorsement contracts typically have morals clauses that allow companies to sever their deals with cause.

A call placed Wednesday to Armstrong, who has had a deal with the company since 1996, was not answered.

Together with Nike, the Livestrong Foundation raised more than $80 million through the sale of yellow Livestrong wristbands since May 2004. Nike also has a healthy line of Livestrong-branded products, including shoes and T-shirts. There were nearly 100 Livestrong items available for purchase on Nike’s website on Wednesday morning.

A source told ESPN that Nike will also change the name of the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center building named after Armstrong at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Armstrong’s other sponsors including Oakley, Honey Stinger and FRS have thus far continued to stand by his side.


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