Out at Livestrong, out at Nike. Days after a scathing report detailing years of performance-enhancing drug use, more fallout Wednesday against cyclist Lance Armstrong. Nike, a sponsor worth millions, dumped him, saying the evidence of drug use was insurmountable.
The news from Nike was a surprise to many because the Beaverton-based sports apparel giant had stood by him so steadfastly, even during times of seemingly validated hearsay.
But Nike's decision came as a relief to Paul Willerton. In the early '90s, Willerton was a teammate of Armstrong.
"Lance was a ferocious, ferocious rider," Willerton said Wednesday at his home near Sunriver.
More than 20 years later, Willerton mocks Armstrong's years of campaigning against the doping allegations leveled at him.
"What am I on? What are you on?" said Willerton. "That was Lance's challenge to us, and it was flippant, and it was insulting."
Willerton's racing days are over. He now helps run DeFeet, a popular cycling sock company.
"Lance used a lot of tools to crush a lot of people who were coming forward to try and tell the truth," said Willerton. "That's been the most disheartening part of it all to watch."
In August, Willerton watched as Nike stood by Armstrong, and his agent declared him an authentic athlete, even after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brought more charges against him.
"That put me through the roof, and it made me realize, this wasn't going to stop," said Willerton.
Armed with poster boards, Willerton organized a protest in Beaverton. Tuesday's turnout was small, but their message was big.
"Someone needs to take out that main pillar -- and to me, that main pillar was Nike," said Willerton.
A day later, some analysts say Armstrong's sponsored days are done -- other sponsors followed in Nike's footsteps. He even stepped down from his chairmanship position at the Livestrong Foundation he created.
Willerton says it's about time.
"We can't let an athlete put that cloak over themselves, to absolve them of wrongdoing in other things," said Willerton.
Armstrong might lose sponsors, but it's unlikely he'll lose all of his millions of supporters who say he certainly wasn't the only one doping.
"To say that everybody was doing it is, I think, a cop-out, because I know myself that isn't true," said Willerton.
Now, it appears Nike's new message to doping athletes is "Just Don't Do It."
Nike on Wednesday also took Armstrong's name off it's fitness center at its Beaverton campus. Anheuser-Busch also severed its contract with Armstrong -- he was the brewery's pitchman for Michelob Ultra -- and Trek bikes also severed its relationship with the seven-time Tour de France winner.