Nike has ended its relationship with Livestrong, per the Associated Press. Livestrong, the foundation that provides support for patients with cancer originally founded by Lance Armstrong, worked with Nike for nine years, raising over $100 million for cancer research.
Livestrong issued a statement regarding "the dissolution of its partnership with Nike" on Tuesday:
"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. While the Foundation created and owns the LIVESTRONG brand, Nike shone a spotlight on the spirit of courage and resilience it represents. Since 2004, Nike helped raise more than $100 million to advance the Foundation's mission. Together, we created new, revolutionary ways of thinking about how non-profits fuel their mission and we're proud of that."
It has been a difficult period at Livestrong over the past several months. After Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in a 2012 interview with Oprah, he stepped down as chairman and shortly thereafter was removed from the board of directors. The name was officially changed from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation in November. In addition to their arrangement with Livestrong, Nike had a personal sponsorship agreement with Lance Armstrong, which the company ended back in October.
The move is another blow to the charity, which pledged to continue working to fight cancer. It's a difficult situation, though. The charity has done great things to help people beat cancer, but the money and notoriety they came into was a result of Armstrong. The fact that he cheated to win Tour de France titles doesn't mean the charity's works are tainted, but that name now carries baggage that will be hard to shake.