Nike (NKE) will continue to back Lance Armstrong, even after the cyclist halted his struggle against doping charges and faces being stripped of his Tour de France titles by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The athletic shoe company has a reputation for standing by its spokesman athletes in times of difficulty, including NFL quarterback Michael Vick and star golfer Tiger Woods. It also backed the late Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno until evidence surfaced that he was involved in covering up sexual abuse committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the Portland Business Journal noted.
Paterno’s name has since been removed from Nike facilities.
Armstrong announced yesterday that he has dropped his battle against the USADA, which has accused him of engaging in blood doping during cycling tournaments more than a decade ago. The agency is expected to impose a lifetime ban on the retired cyclist.
The cycling legend and cancer survivor said the toll of fighting the allegations — which have dogged him for years — had proven too great on him and his family. He declared that his teammates and the public know who had won the Tours de France and said he was done with the “nonsense.”
Nike noted that Armstrong continues to deny the charges and indicated that it would continue to back him and his cancer foundation.
Shares of Nike rose more than 1% in midday trading on Friday.