With cyclist and seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong set to confess via a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs on Thursday and Friday, many are wondering what will become of his famed anti-cancer charity the Livestrong Foundation.
Armstrong apologized to Livestrong staff for lying to them about his history of steroid use earlier this week. Staff were ‘devastated,’ according to board member Mark McKinnon.
“It’s been devastating, but I’m glad Lance is coming forward,” he told CNN’s John Berman.
“I think he’s got a lot of apologies, I think he’s got to crawl over a lot of broken glass … but the one thing they can’t take away from him is his cancer survivorship.” McKinnon continued that “that story gives great hope to millions of people… There’s a lot of good work he can continue to do there if he’s willing to sacrifice and make clear that he’s sacrificing for the cause, that he’s willing to serve a cause greater than himself.”
Some are suggesting that Livestrong will recover now that Armstrong has confessed, giving donors who may have been turned off by his continued denials a chance to reevaluate their stance on the charity.
“Oprah is the new priestess of ratings and resurrection,” Zimmerman Advertising EVP Cliff Courtney told Fox Business. “I think it was a smart move [to confess to her] depending on his objectives. To the degree he wants to help Livestrong survive, it was smart. But, now we have to question his motives.”
Strategic Vision, LLC CEO David Johnson concurs that coming out to the public is a move that is actually good for the foundation in the long term. “People will not blame Livestrong, and those who may have been withholding donations may pick up. People will not blame Livestrong, or cancel contributing, due to Lance. It’s two separate issues. He has helped the battle for cancer.”
“When you face a crisis as a leader, you want to face it head on,” Johnson continued. “Get the story out early, before these things lessen your credibility.”