Nike is of the great start ups which built itself over 20 years into a great global sports brand company. Like Apple is doesn't manufacture anything but it commissions hundreds of companies around the world to do the work for them.
I first visited them in Beaverton, Oregon in 1983 and re-visited in 2001: much had changed to the Japanese inspired Nike campus. One was that their global sportsmen and women could have a special pavilion or sports facility built to commemorate their successes which could also be available for staff use. I saw the Tiger Woods pavilion with all of his trophies and golfing paraphernalia. I also saw Lance Armstrong's Climbing Wall which he bequeathed to the 5,000 odd staffers.
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, had the most amazing sporting antennae and could spot a winner at six or seven or eight years of age. He then, in the case of Tiger Woods, had to be patient and wait until he could sign them. Tiger's first contract was $100m over ten years. Nike had no golf presence but Tiger's success saw Nike develop a $2billion business off the back of a player who hadn't yet won a Major. That's quite a gamble....
Ditto Lance Armstrong.....Nike didn't do professional cycling but Lance gave them an amazing exposure and it was good for both of them.
It must have been the hardest decision by Nike to withdraw their support for Armstrong yesterday. But it was the only decision and the delay must have been because Nike was so emotionally committed to Armstrong and simply could not come to terms with the way he had let them down.
I bought in to the Armstrong success story, bought the yellow wrist bands to help his cancer trust, supported him in the Tour de France and generally was a fan. There were millions of us world-wide who thought his career and cancer was beyond reproach.
If Armstrong cares, if he has any moral fibre left in his soul, he has to come clean and make a public statement about all of these drug allegations.