Nike announced on Tuesday that it is severing ties with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's Livestrong cancer charity.
The athletic company was one of the biggest supporters of Armstrong’s global charity and helped to make its familiar yellow wristband synonymous with cancer research. Unfortunately, it also made the yellow wristbands reminiscent of Armstrong and his performance-enhancing drug use.
With the move, Nike ends a nine-year relationship that helped the foundation raise more than $100 million. Nike ended its personal sponsorship of Armstrong last October after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency exposed doping by Armstrong’s Tour de France team and portrayed him as the ringleader.
"Nike has made the decision to stop producing new Livestrong product after its Holiday 2013 line," Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said in a statement. "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer."
Armstrong admitted earlier this year he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times. He started the foundation in 1997 but was kicked off its board of directors in October, The New York Post reported.
"The Livestrong Foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership," the foundation said in a statement.
It continued: "Together, we created new, revolutionary ways of thinking about how non-profits fuel their mission and we're proud of that. This news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the foundation's future. We see things quite differently. We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work.”