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It has been quite a week in the world of sports drama. On Monday we were told that Lance Armstrong would be admitting to the world that he did, in fact, take performance enhancing drugs. Then, on Wednesday, we were hit with a bomb (however peculiar) when star Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o turned up in the middle of a story regarding false (or non-existent) identity that we still aren’t even close to having all the answers to.
Naturally, the first place people’s minds went to was how it would affect both of their professional careers. But the second, and arguably more impactful, question that the public still has centers around the effect on Armstrong and Te’o’s marketability.
Both men are at very different ends of the spectrum in terms of their careers. Armstrong, at 42 years old, is well past his prime with no plans to race competitively again. Te’o, 21, is three months away from being selected in the NFL Player Draft, where he has been projected as a top 10 pick.
Their marketing careers can be compared along the same curve as their careers. Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong wristband, an item that, at this point, has been woven into the fabric of pop culture, will no longer brandish the same luster that they once did. Despite their representation of a good cause, the man who stood so strongly behind them has now been labeled a fraud. And apparel companies like Nike have already cut ties with the disgraced athlete.
Manti Te’o will find a home in the NFL as long as he remembers how to tackle. However, endorsements are a different story. The former Notre Dame Captain recently signed a deal with Creative Artists Agency. But if the allegations that he was behind the hoax that had the sports world believing he was playing the last month of the season with a heavy heart due to the death of his girlfriend, then brands will be very reluctant to go anywhere near him.