Half measures rarely work in sports or apologies. The media are reporting
that Nike is cutting ties with Livestrong, the cancer-fighting foundation started by Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong himself broke away from Livestrong
months ago in hopes of minimizing the blow back the charity received from news that the bicyclist finally admitted the long-rumored story that he had used performance enhancing drugs.
The New York Times
today reminds us that Nike stood by Tiger Woods after his reputation had a collision with a fire hydrant – and it initiate a new endorsement deal with Michael Vick after the quarterback got out of prison where he did time because of his role in dog fighting ring. But Nike is abandoning the Foundation built on Armstrong’s reputation.
What’s the difference? One can’t help but wonder if Armstrong had manned up at the outset of this and showed true remorse if things would have gone differently. The foundation tried to put some creative spin on the decision but it is too little and too late.
Armstrong’s half-hearted apologies sent him on a downhill run from which he could not brake.
He had one chance to get on the right course once the truth came out. He blew it.
We teach our clients — when you screw up apologize swiftly and as contritely as possible if you hope to weather the storm. Armstrong’s failure to do so not only brought him down — but also may have crashed the hopes and dreams of his very admirable foundation.