To characterize Sporting Kansas City‘s naming rights deal with Lance Armstrong as ill-conceived would be a laughable understatement…
Does anybody really believe Sporting was completely blindsided by the breakup with Livestrong? Clearly the end was near, Livestrong merely beat Sporting to the PR punch.
Sporting never should have let itself get suckered into the deal to begin with.
And as first reported here, Sporting was in a heated debate about extricating itself from the ill-advised naming rights deal with Livestrong with a final decision expected within two weeks.
Somewhat obviously, Livestrong read the tea leaves and decided to strike first by bailing and accusing Sporting of not living up to its financial agreement.
Classic case of “I quit,” getting the jump on “You’re fired.”
Thus ends the deal – made not two years ago – that tied the world’s most disgraced athlete to Kansas City and our local soccer club.
For anyone who following Armstrong’s downfall – and admittedly not many people around here were until quite recently – it was obvious Armstrong was up to his eyelashes in some pretty nasty stuff when Sporting made its deal.
Threatening and menacing teammates who’d testified that they’d doped with Armstrong. Lying unconvincingly when the evidence against him was mountainous.
What was Sporting thinking?
Not much, is the painfully obvious answer.
And how classy was it that the head of Livestrong – a cancer charity for crying out loud – went before congress and lobbied to have the U.S. Anti Doping Agency’s funding taken away.
What does fighting cancer have to do with covering Lance Armstrong’s butt?
Even after the release the USADA report that brought Armstrong down, Livestrong head Doug Ulman went on record last fall that Armstrong was “our biggest advocate and always will be.”.
He then went on to say that Livestrong’s 2009 endorsement of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was more of a problem for Livestrong donors than Armstrong’s doping charges.
I say, good riddance.
People make mistakes and Sporting committed a huge one by hopping in the sack with Armstrong and Livestrong when it was obvious that something was amiss.
Unfortunately, Livestrong beat Sporting to the punch on the public breakup and left our guys sputtering to ESPN last night about how we were the ones breaking up with Lance, not the other way around.
In any case it’s done, time move on.
No longer will Kansas City be the poster child for all things wrong with modern day sports. Well, not much longer anyway.
Oh, and they even got the sign down last night already!
(photo by WHB’s Nate Bukaty)