October 17th, 2012 | by OLGA KOZINSKIY News | Posted In: Drugs

What Did Nike Know About Lance Armstrong, and When Did It Know It?

lede_nike_3806Illustration by JooHee Yoon

Nike terminated its contracted with Lance Armstrong today due to overwhelming evidence provided by the USADA that shows Armstrong has indeed participated in doping, reported The Wall Street Journal.

But the Beaverton-based sports apparel company remains dogged by a question, raised most recently  by the New York Daily News: Did Nike help cover up the doping?

A day before dropping Armstrong, Nike released a hot denial that it knew anything: "In response to the offensive allegations in today’s New York Daily News, Nike vehemently denies that it paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs."

Although Nike will continue to support Armstrong's "Livestrong" cancer charity, Armstrong announced today that he has resigned as chairman of his foundation.

After Armstrong beat testicular cancer in 1997, he established Livestrong, which then sold millions of yellow wristbands and partnered with Nike to sell Livestrong gear. Armstrong will remain on the foundation’s board and Jeff Garvey, the vice chairman of the organization, will become chairman reported the New York Times

Nike has previously stood by athletes like Kobe Bryant, who was accused but never convicted of sexual assault, and Tiger Woods, who is notorious for his affairs. But it cut its ties with Michael Vick who went to prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, and later resigned him.

This scandal will shake the company more fundamentally—nobody ever accused Nike of having a stake in Bad Newz Kennels.

 
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