Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Nike, Armstrong, UCI And The $500,000 Cover Up

"This is my body and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it and study it, tweak it, listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?" These are the words of Lance Armstrong in a 2001 advertisement for Nike. It's easy to laugh at this now, the irony, the lies, the arrogance and audacity to casually deny the truth in an advert that would reach millions upon millions of viewers worldwide and the embarrassment it 'must' have caused for one of the worlds largest sporting goods companies. Except, far from being embarrassed it appears today that Nike were in fact part of the problem at the very heart of the most 'sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.'...

When the USADA released their findings in the Lance Armstrong and US Postal investigation last week Nike issued the same statement it had released when news of the Armstrong case first hit the media. Rather than recognise the evidence and review the statements it appears Nike took the word of Lance Armstrong over the hundreds of pages of evidence, the mass awakening of the cycling public and common sense:
'We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted.'Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors'

This was met with some angry reactions from sports fans - especially after the continued support of Tiger Woods (though the goings on surrounding a persons private life may raise questions morally, it is a far cry from systematic cheating and choking of sport involving years of drug abuse and intimidation) - who were shocked by the level of support given to a sports 'cheat' by a company that promotes sport, sporting success and fair play. The support from Nike hasn't been missed by those within the sport either. Ex Professional Cyclist and former Armstrong team-mate Paul Willerton has yesterday stated his intentions to, along with 'a small group of athletes and cycling fans plan to show up at the Nike corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, on Tuesday morning to protest the company's continuing support for Armstrong' saying:
"We're a group of athletes who don't stand for organized crime in sports. We don't allow bullying and intimidation inside the cycling industry or any industry for that matter. These are fundamental human rights issues. So to have a company like Nike standing there and saying they publicly support that, I can't stand for it myself, and I know I'm not alone in that."

Today though, we are struck with allegations on a far grander scale with the New York Daily News reporting that Nike transferred $500,000 to a Swiss bank account belonging to then UCI President Hein Verbruggen possitive drugs test for corticosteroids to 'go away'. Oh, but Nike probably did this to prevent major embarrassment because they had already so publicly defended Armstrong in the 2001 commercial, I hear you say. Except, the positive test for corticosteroids dates back to 1999 - 2 years before Nike and Armstrong so boldly denied doping allegations in the now incredibly audacious looking 2001 advert.

So far these allegations against Nike are just that, dating back to 2006 in a testimony Kathy LeMond gave under oath at the SCA Arbitration case - but it goes some way in to giving a reason as to just why it is so unwavering in it's support of Lance Armstrong. If evidence is found to substantiate the claims, this well and truly entangles the under-fire sports company in what could be a damning and defining moment in Nikes 49 year history. Standing by an athlete in times of private or professional hardship is one thing, even if it is for the company's own gain, but having a direct hand in bribing officials, corrupting a sport and covering positive drugs tests from such an influential position in the sporting world is an entirely different matter and brings a whole new meaning to the 'Nike: Just Do It' slogan. Everybody wants to know what Lance is on? He's on Nike...


  1. Should Jesse Ventura not have a look at this?

  2. Love that as I read this, "AdChoices" has decided to try and send me to the Nike store. Proving that automated marketing isn't smarter than us .. yet.

  3. Hi Jessica, I noticed this last night and have made a request with adsense to block Nike.com adds, unfortunately it may take upto 48hours for the page to stop displaying Nike adverts, much to my embarrassment!