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article imageNike drops Lance Armstrong, saying he 'misled' the company

By Yukio Strachan     Oct 17, 2012 in Sports
Nike announced Wednesday it has severed ties with cyclist Lance Armstrong, an endorsement deal that once earned the embattled cycling star millions of dollars.
"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 said it a statement. "Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner," Businessweek reports.
According to CNN, the clothing and footwear company will also take Armstrong's name off of the fitness center on Nike's campus in Oregon, according to KeJuan Wilkins, a spokesperson for the athletic gear maker.
The company initially stood by Armstrong, even after he lost his titles. This summer, Nike said that the athlete stated his innocence and had been unwavering on his position.
Armstrong had been a highly sought after spokesman for years. He made about $17.5 million in endorsements in 2005, the last year his earnings were tracked by Sports Illustrated's Fortunate 50 list of the top paid active athletes. That put him as the eighth highest endorsement earner that year, CNN reports..
His endorsement deals have since decreased, as he retired from sports in early 2011.
Armstrong announced Wednesday, just minutes before the announcement from Nike, that he was stepping down as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, his cancer charity, so that the organization can steer clear of the whirlwind surrounding him, the Wall Street Journal says.
"I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors," he said in a statement.
Nike Inc., based in Beaverton, Ore., said it plans to continue its support for Livestrong. The Lance Armstrong Foundation has a contract with Nike to license the Livestrong brand for Nike's Livestrong collection of clothing, shoes and other merchandise. A spokeswoman for the foundation says it doesn't have plans to change its name.
A representative for Armstrong could not be immediately reached for comment.
Anheuser-Busch and the sunglasses company Oakley have already pledged ongoing support for the organization.
The moves follow last week's release of the massive U.S. Anti-Doping Agency detailing allegations that Armstrong had doped and provided his former teammates with banned substances, including the blood-booster EPO, when he won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. The USADA banned Armstrong from cycling for life and stripped him of the titles he earned during his 14-year career, including those Tour wins.
The 41-year-old Armstrong, who overcame life-threatening testicular cancer, retired from cycling a year ago. He announced in August that he would no longer fight the doping allegations that have dogged him for years.
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