Posted by: ellenpayne2012 | October 18, 2012

After some spin, relationship between Nike and Lance Armstrong goes flat

The message on Nike’s website was short and pointed: “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. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

The sign guy at Nike campus must be very busy these days. After recently taking down the Joe Paterno Childcare Center signs he now has to redirect people from the former Lance Armstrong Center.

If stars embody social and ideological values (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012, p. 421), then Armstrong certainly rode away with our hopes and dreams. After his against-all-odds comeback from testicular cancer to win the Tour de France seven times, and his advocacy for cancer survivors through his foundation, Armstrong embodied qualities we find irresistible: courage, perseverance, athletic prowess, helping others. Add his romance with singer Cheryl Crow and his friendship with actor Matthew McConaughey – well, it was enough to get me to fundraise, sweat through 75 miles of Washington County on a bike and wear that yellow wristband for months (oh and buy his book.)

Soon after the Nike announcement, and another that he was stepping down from the foundation, donations went up. Will Lance Armstrong’s social currency remain strong enough to continue to benefit (or at least do no harm) to Livestrong and what does that say about the limits or excesses of stars who embody our social and ideological values?

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