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Lance Armstrong steps down as head of Livestrong; Nike terminates contract

Jay Busbee
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Lance Armstrong. (Getty Images)

The Lance Armstrong story, and fallout, continues. On Wednesday morning, multiple reports indicated that Armstrong will be stepping down as head of his Livestrong cancer foundation.

This is a major public relations blow for Armstrong; Livestrong's trademark yellow bracelets are omnipresent at fitness events, and even people unconcerned with whether Armstrong retains his seven Tour de France titles can understand and appreciate the impact of an organization devoted to improving cancer awareness and research.

[Dan Wetzel: Nike, Livestrong abandon Lance Armstrong at wrong time]

The move is the latest in a wave of bad news for Armstrong, whom the United States Anti-Doping Agency has painted as the kingpin and mastermind of a complex international doping ring. Armstrong has maintained his innocence throughout the entire investigation.

[Related: Lance Armstrong's bio lands on fiction shelf]

The problem for Livestrong is that Armstrong has, by association, begun to tarnish the foundation's name. "Livestrong" adorns a soccer stadium in Kansas City, and calls have begun for the stadium to distance itself from the organization.

And perhaps this move by Armstrong is a step in that direction. Perhaps this is a way of separating the scandal surrounding Armstrong from the mission of Livestrong. If that's the case, this is a worthy and appropriate move on Armstrong's part.

[Related: Nike tops Forbes' Fab 40 of world's most valuable sports brands]

However, the bad news for Armstrong continues to roll on. Shortly after the news broke about his decision to step down from Livestrong, Nike released a statement severing its connection with Armstrong:

Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.

More on the story as it develops.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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