The business side of sports and entertainment seems to be ever present. This time, it is highlighted by the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and its aftermath.
Consider this: On the one hand, Lance Armstrong is truly a global icon. He is a cancer survivor who won his sport’s most grueling event seven times AFTER he was treated for cancer. His non-profit Livestrong foundation has raised $500 million in the fight against cancer since 1997, largely due to the efforts of Armstrong. The foundation’s yellow wristbands are symbolic of its activities. According to one source, about 92 percent of the funds raised ($460) have actually gone into cancer-fighting and relatively little go for administrative and other overhead. Millions of cancer survivors, those struggling with cancer, their families, and many others still view Armstrong as a hero.
Unfortunately, there also seems to be a darker side to the Lance Armstrong saga. This week, after years of allegations of use of illegal performance-enhancement drugs, the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) released stacks of evidence showing that Armstrong was, in fact, cheating throughout his cycling career. During his formerly illustrious career, Armstrong earned millions and millions of dollars from sponsors and those sponsors generated billions of dollars in sales of Armstrong-endorsed goods and services. Now, Nike, Radio Shack, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other sponsors have dropped Armstrong; and Armstrong has stepped down as the head of the Livestrong foundation that he founded.
Armstrong is still very rich; but his reputation has been tattered and his foundation has been shaken to the core. Can this great charity survive the scandal? Sadly, some believe that it in the long run it cannot.
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