AUSTIN, TX– The US Anti-Doping Agency brought formal doping charges against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong on Tuesday.
But Armstrong’s personal reputation may not be the only thing on the line.
Susan G. Komen took a page out of Major League Baseball’s book Friday, writing a letter to Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most utilized evaluator of charities, requesting an asterisk be placed next to the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s four star rating. Susan G. Komen and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which sells the yellow ‘Livestrong’ bracelets for cancer research, both received a four star rating from Charity Navigator.
The asterisk request is similar to baseball, where many argue asterisks should be placed next to Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire’s names in the single-season home run record books due to both players’ involvement with steroids.
“We think people should know the face of Livestrong cheated his way to fame and thus raised more money than he probably should have due to his fame,” said Nancy Brinker, CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“The asterisk lets everybody know that. We want to reward charities, who do it the right way.”
Susan G. Komen raised over $357 million in 2011 compared to the Lance Armstrong’s Foundation of $42 million in 2011.
“Why would they want an asterisk or care about one?” said Micheal Helms, a 44-year-old cancer survivor.
“It seems like the money is going to a good place either way.”
It is hard to see why Susan G. Komen would care about the Lance Armstrong Foundation. But this is not the first time Komen has taken a vested interest in a significantly smaller charity.
In 2010 the Huffington Post revealed Komen identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred charities who used any variation of “for the cure” in their names. Examples included Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure. Many were critical of the charity using over $1 million of donated funds to sue other charities.
Experts say the recent asterisk request may be a way to deflect recent criticism Komen received after pulling funding for cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, only to change their mind after immense public pressure.
“Komen and Anti-Doping Agency need to back off of Lance,” said Helms.
“Lance won a 2,000 mile race seven times after battling testicular cancer. In my opinion you have to be on some kind of drug to even think about doing one of those races, let alone doing it seven times.”
Charity Navigator has yet to respond to Komen’s request.