Okay, folks. It's time for a reality check:
It's quite probably that nearly all professional athletes take illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.
Now I know what you're saying. You're saying "Bob! No! It can't be so!" But trust me on this one. If I can't take a run through the park at age 45 without needing ibuprofen in the morning, these men and women can't possibly be punishing their bodies for 12 hours every day without some serious medical trickery.
Let's get it through our heads once and for all: Hiring a sports celebrity as an endorser is like putting Bill Clinton in charge of your ethics committee — they look nice enough on television, but eventually they're in the news trying to explain how they never had relations with that cute, young steroid.
So why is it that every time we have one of these cats fall from grace, we in adland start to question ourselves? Should we have hired him? Is it worth the bad publicity? All I can say is, Who gives a shit?
If brands were really worried about this stuff, there would be no celebrity sports endorsers. Seriously. You think they don't know what they're getting into? Of course they know! They probably have a list as long as their arms of all the hookers and booze they've bought these guys over the years. And there's no doubt that they know everything about the medical condition of the athletes they hire. After all, you wouldn't even buy a puppy without getting it checked out by a vet first. You're definitely not going to pay some dude $2 million without at least knowing if his heart's about to explode from injecting some other dude's oxygenated blood. (And what's up with that crap, anyway? But I digress.)
So it's not a question of whether or not these guys are worth the trouble. They obviously sell a lot of bizarre, electronically enhanced footwear and lightly sweetened sugar water. It's simply a wager. We are betting that they will never get caught and we pay them enough money to make sure that they keep it that way, all while giving ourselves plausible deniability. End of story.
So yeah, real sad that Lance Armstrong had his tour wins pulled. But enough of the funereal retrospectives on his role in advertising. At most it should be a paragraph under account moves: "Radio Shack loses bet with Armstrong. Seeking more reliable doper for future campaigns."