The Power of Reputation


I know that this was one of the options on the blog instructions, but as a huge sports fan, I couldn’t help but write about Lance Armstrong’s legacy. You can see the author’s blog that I am responding to here.

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Photo Courtesy of Katinger.com

A wise man once told me that all you have in this world is your reputation. And I think that that statement has a lot of power in it. Growing up, people like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, and Kobe Bryant were the epitome of athletic achievement. It’s clear what they all have in common.  All of them had reputations for being the best at what they did, changing their respective game as they went. One other thing they have in common is that their name brands have been tarnished. Tiger with all his women, Bonds with his steroids, and Bryant for rape charges. But for Lance, I don’t see the same thing happening. 

Throughout his career, he enhanced his brand. Like the blog post said, not a single one of his sponsors left him when the news broke, and that was because of all of the goodwill he had built up. He didn’t do it for attention, and to be honest I don’t think he did it for the money. Lance Armstrong has been an important image for the battle against cancer, and he took that and ran with it. At this point, I can’t blame him for giving up the fight. Like he said, there just comes a point where you can’t fight anymore. He has given so much to his sport, his sponsors, his fans, and people fighting cancer all over the world.

So it begs the question: If people still love Lance Armstrong, why don’t people still love Tiger Woods? Of course, their trials and tribulations are on completely different levels, but they are still issues that tarnish their once immaculate records. Lance Armstrong clearly has strong ties with the Livestrong Foundation and the fight against cancer, whereas Tiger Woods created his own foundation centered around giving educational opportunities to America’s youth. Both are very admirable foundations that make a difference. Now I for one do not condone the behavior of Tiger Woods. But does this whole thing come down to what the people think of these individuals ethics?

Most people know that Tiger lost everything. Life as he knew his was gone and the public’s perception of him would, and never will be the same. Lance didn’t lose his fans or his endorsements. He lost much more. No asterisk will be posted next to his name. His 7 Tour Championships were wiped clean from the record book, all because he finally saw fit to give up the endless fight. Regardless of his place in history, I will remember Lance Armstrong for his reputation; A man that took his good fortune and hard work and used it to better the rest of the world.

So this leaves me with questions. How do you, the reader, see him? How will you remember him? How much power do you think a person’s reputation has?

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One response to “The Power of Reputation

  1. I actually see a parallel here with personal reputation and business/company reputation. After the financial crisis, banks, lenders and Wall Street in general lost their reputation and the “people’s” confidence in them. In the same way these athletes you allude to lost part of their reputation and some confidence because of their actions. I think we are more likely to forgive individuals than companies. Individuals are humans that make mistakes, but companies are made up of multiple people and big mistakes and fraudulent activities should be stopped and handled. I will remember Lance Armstrong as an amazing athlete who overcame a lot, but i will also remember the negative. The same with Wall Street.

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