Monday, January 28, 2013

Armstrong Dropped By Another Charity

The hits keep coming for Lance Armstrong, as the now-disgraced bicyclist has had his picture dropped from a charity he co-founded in 2007.

The Bethesda, Md.-based Athletes for Hope, which Armstrong co-founded in 2007 with tennis legend Andre Agassi and women's soccer star Mia Hamm, removed his picture from their website after he confessed to using steroids in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The organization's mission is to encourage professional and Olympic athletes to connect with existing charities rather than founding their own foundations.

The story was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

The nonprofit's chief executive officer, Ivan Blumberg, told The Journal that the decision was "mutual" and was decided immediately after the airing of Armstrong's interview with Winfrey. While his picture is no longer on the website, his name still is listed as a co-founder.

The charity also lost two other celebrity partners in the past few months: Women's tennis player Andrea Jaeger and baseball hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. Jaeger made the decision to cut ties with the organization after Armstrong was first accused of doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in August. Jaeger, whose Little Star Foundation aids children with cancer and other deadly diseases, said she could no longer be a part of the organization because its direction was different from the values that were important to her, presumably referring to its ties with Armstrong. Ripken left after Armstrong's interview with Oprah.

Other celebrities that remain with the nonprofit include former NBA player Alonzo Mourning, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and skateboarding star Tony Hawk.

Athletes for Hope has also encountered funding problems in recent years, according to tax filings. A multi-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation totaling $2 million expired early last year. Blumberg also told The Journal that his salary, which was at a base of $250,000 with total compensation of $325,000 in 2011, will be reduced to $150,000. He said the lack of funding can be attributed to a weak economy.

Armstrong has had a difficult time since USADA first filed its charges against him. The foundation he created to promote cancer research officially changed its name to the Livestrong Foundation in November, and he eventually stepped down from the organization. He was also dropped by corporate sponsors Nike and Anheuser-Bush in October, the month USADA announced its decision to ban Armstrong from cycling for life.

You can read the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

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