Ahead of Lance Armstrong’s candid conversation with Oprah Winfrey set to broadcast later tonight, there are indications of Nike sponsoring the disgraced cyclist once again in the near future. After millions in sponsorship money to his professional cycling career as well as his cancer-related charity LIVESTRONG, Nike cut all ties to the 7-time Tour de France winner last October when the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released its finding. In a damning, 1,000-page report, USADA stated Armstrong’s rampant usage of performance enhancement drugs and his participation in “the most sophisticated doping program in recent sports history.” The report also added that Armstrong not only doped himself but acted as a supplier and enabler to his teammates, all so he could win titles.
But during an appearance at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Phil Knight, Co-Founder and Chairman of Nike, hinted at the possibility of his company working with Armstrong again in the near future. When asked by reporters, Knight stated “never say never.” Most will agree much of it hinges on what Armstrong will say tonight in his taped interview with Oprah and how sincere he is in his apologies. However, this wouldn’t be the first time Nike stood along side with a troubled athlete fallen on hard times. When details of golfer Tiger Woods’ extramarital affairs and sexual escapades became public, Nike supported Woods, even created a controversial commercial about the whole affair.
In the meantime, part one of Oprah Winfrey’s “no-holds-barred” conversation with Lance Armstrong will be airing tonight at 9 pm EST on OWN network as well as online through Oprah.com