Nike, fans stand behind Lance Armstrong
As the cycling world and fans of Lance Armstrong continued to absorb the seven-time Tour de France winner’s announcement Thursday that he would no longer fight charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs, one of his biggest sponsors, Nike, came out in support of Armstrong.
Nike, in a statement, said: “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.”
Foundation Chairman Jeffery C. Garvey also issued a statement, saying, “Faced with a biased process whose outcome seems predetermined, Lance chose to put his family and his foundation first. The leadership of the Lance Armstrong Foundation remain incredibly proud of our founder’s achievements, both on and off the bike.”
However, Peter Flax, editor in chief of Bicycling magazine, believes Armstrong is guilty of the charges and that by announcing he is no longer fighting them while still maintaining his innocence, “Lance is choosing the least worst option. It’s a damage control move,” Flax said on “CBS This Morning” on Friday. Asked if he believed Armstrong used performance-enhancing druges, Flax said, “I’m absolutely convinced that he did, but I’m also convinced that he is the victim of a witch hunt.”
It appears a majority of fans still support Armstrong. An unscientific Times online survey was running 60% to 40% in favor of Armstrong, while Flax said his magazine’s surveys are 95% in support of Armstrong. “He is guilty but in a lot of people’s eyes, he’s still an inspiration,” Flax said.
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