By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
February 1, 2013
Oftentimes, the best athletes also are the best endorsers. With so much money available from sponsors, the incentive to lie and cheat is multiplied as their stardom rises. In the last few years, several high-profile athletes have been brought down by scandal: Golfer Tiger Woods with his extramarital affairs, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps with smoking marijuana, and of course, Lance Armstrong with doping. In each case, the damage done to their image had the collateral effect of costing them multimillions of dollars in endorsement money.
In a sense, it’s warranted to blame athlete lying and cheating on big paychecks from sponsors. As long as playing contracts and prize money will still be available after a scandal, from the athlete’s point of view, losing endorsement deals is the worst thing that can happen. Lying and cheating would still exist even if there were a way to regulate the amount of sponsor money. But there’s no question that the threat of losing the big dollar sponsorship deals major reason for the covering up.