Nike signed drug cheat Justin Gatlin who still has not come clean about his role in doping in the sport to a contract today.
Reports also had said they were going to sign Tyson Gay but that is not the case. Nike has said they will NOT sign Tyson Gay.
Nike VP Charlie Brooks told Reuters: "We have no plans to sign a contract with Tyson Gay." See: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/a...--spt.html
12:12 am update: An interesting update. I wrote Chris Chavez, who had written an article for the Sporting News saying both Gatlin and Gay were running for Nike this year, to tell him of Charlie Brooks statement that Nike had no intention of signing Tyson Gay.
Chris wrote me back saying Charlie Brooks wrote him saying, "Just one clarification: As you note, Tyson Gay is training with John Smith and as such will wear Nike, but he isn't contracted to Nike, so its inaccurate to say he has been added to the Nike roster."
So there you have it. Tyson Gay will be wearing Nike and you can presume he is getting paid to wear Nike this year, but since the contract is with Gay's coach John Smith, technically Nike isn't paying Tyson Gay. Very bizarre that Nike would go so far to not directly sign Gay but has not problem signing Gatlin on the dotted line. I don't think Gay is moving all the way across the country and switching coaches to run for free.
So both Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin will be running in Nike this year. Chris' article is here and is updated to reflect all of this.
And I think Charlie Brooks gets the word for corporate double speak for saying, "We have no plans to sign a contract with Tyson Gay." Technically true but very inaccurate.
A few points: 1) Shame on Nike. Gay at least took responsibility for his doping and cooperated with anti-doping authorities to get a reduced sentence. Justin Gatlin did not co-operate and still has not admitted wrong doing.
2) The fact Nike signed Gatlin and not Gay is pretty damning on what they think the prospects of Gay are in 2015. Justin Gatlin was the top sprinter in the world last year and Nike clearly wants him even if he cheated in the past.
3) Nike by this signing is saying, "Winning is more important than anything else." Fighting for clean sport is worth nothing. If a few thousand people stop buying Nike products because of this move hopefully it will cost them financially. That is all Nike cares about. Then they will "do the right thing" The shocking thing is they think this is a good decision for them financially. (They could have just let Gatlin win medals while running in the Nike Team USA gear he will be forced to wear at Worlds, but they took the additional step of sponsoring him).
4) Major props to Paula Radcliffe for speaking out against this. She is a Nike athlete but she did what is right and spoke out against the signing. "I am very disappointed to hear this news. I don't believe it truly reflects the core values of NIKE that I am proud to represent, nor the integrity and ideals of the people there that I work with on a daily basis."
5) This shows how small running is. No way would the Nike execs resign Lance or ARod. Who knows maybe they would if they still had a chance of doing well.