After Nike dropped Lance Armstrong as a spokesman last week, four other companies followed suit, including Anheuser-Busch, 24 Hour Fitness, Trek Bicycle and athletic products maker Honey Stinger.
Those decisions came even before Monday's confirmation by the UCI, cycling's governing body, that Armstrong, 41, would be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life. The action follows a report by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that "Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions," according to ESPN.com.
Nike, however, has forgiven disgraced athletes in the past — Tiger Woods and Michael Vick among them.
“It's really hard to know today when an issue will spin out of control or just go away,” Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates, told the Associated Press. “The cost of a celebrity endorsement is huge, so pulling the plug is a really big decision.”
It may be a big deal to the companies involved, but do celebrity endorsements even matter to you? Tell us in the comments.