Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lance Armstrong, Livestrong, and Sporting KC

This will hopefully be the last few things I say on the Lance Armstrong/Livestrong/Sporting KC situation unless the team decides to address the situation again.

Sponsors continue to flee from Lance Armstrong like rats from a sinking ship as the ramifications of the USADA report on his doping really begin to sink in.  Nike, 24 Hour Fitness, and Anheuser Busch are all among the list of sponsors of Armstrong who have pulled their sponsorship of the cyclist.  Armstrong has also stepped down as the chair of Livestrong the cancer awareness organization he helped found.  Armstrong does still remain on the board of the organization.

The big question now for Livestrong is whether it can weather the storm surrounding Armstrong because of the connection that existed and continues to exist between the two.  So far at least two of their sponsors that also sponsored Armstrong have said they'll stick with the charity.  Both Nike and Radio Shack have said that they still support the work being done by Livestrong.  At the moment, this seems to be the smart move to take, you don't want to be branded as turning your back on an organization that helps people while they are fighting for their life.  Sporting KC is currently in this category as an organization that has partnered with Livestrong, right now isn't the right time to abandon the charity.  Plenty of people are calling for the stadium to be renamed because of Livestrong's association with Armstrong, but at the same time there are those that would see it as abandoning an organization that has done good in their hour of need.

Now yes Sporting could go and just give the name to another charity, one that does real research in actually fighting cancer and trying to find a cure, but none of those organizations have the same global recognition as Livestrong currently does.  And that was one of the key points I think originally of the deal, it was to bring more name recognition to the team by the association with the organization.

At this time I still don't think there's a reason to split from the deal between the team and Livestrong.  I do though think that Sporting KC needs to be keeping a very close eye on the situation, just like I'm sure they have from day one.  There was always the chance that further allegations and eventually further evidence coming out implicating Armstrong.  Not believing that was possible is stupid and short sighted, both of which are the exact opposite of 90% of what the club does.  But if things go further and organizations like Nike and Radio Shack pull their support then it's time to get out as well.  I'm not saying that they haven't already, I'm sure that the people that need to have read over the information from the USADA and I'm sure it's been a topic of discussion.  I just think that withdrawing support now could be seen as just as bad a PR move for the team to be the first to pull their support.

One thing that does need to happen, if not already is that the yellow seat needs to stop being referred to as being reserved for Lance Armstrong.  The name just brings out poor connotations to people after this and continuing to refer to it as such doesn't seem right to me.  You can keep it yellow, but just refer to it as the Livestrong Seat, or that it's reserved for a cancer survivor.  Just stop referring to it as being reserved for him.


Anonymous said...

That yellow seat is not reserved for Lance Armstrong. It's reserved for a cancer survivor or for a family member of a cancer victim. Every game they announce the cancer survivor or family member that is being honored by sitting in that seat.

Anonymous said...

I thought the yellow seat was called the LiveStrong seat and was reserved for people with/affected by cancer. I've never heard anyone say it's Lance's seat. As far as I know the only game he attended was the stadium opener.

Mike said...

It's been said that it's reserved for Lance Armstrong since the stadium name was announced

Unknown said...

It is referred to as the Yellow Seat and it is reserved to honor someone that is fighting or has fought cancer. I have never heard anyone at Sporting KC refer to it as the Lance Armstrong seat. Maybe they called it that the first game when he actually sat in it?
As for LIVESTRONG you may want to do your homework on just exactly what LIVESTRONG does. LIVESTRONG offers free and confidential programs and resources to ANYONE affected by cancer. It helps those people with the day to day battles they encounter while fighting for their lives. It fills a need that has never before been met for cancer patients, their family, friends, caregivers, employers, etc assisting them with emotional and financial issues, treatment options, clinical trials, fertility issues for young patients that hope to someday have a family, it helps with health insurance, employee/employer issues, etc.
LIVESTRONG has helped millions of people over the past 15 years. There are cancer survivors today that have families and are proud parents only because they received financial assistance and/or guidance from LIVESTRONG regarding fertility preservation options. There are people receiving lifesaving treatments only because LIVESTRONG battled their insurance company to get them covered. These are only two examples, the list goes on and on.
Why would anyone want to turn their backs on such an organization? There isn't another organization out there to fill these needs. Where would these people turn for help?