Nike Chairman and co-founder Phil Knight believes the controversy surrounding Tiger Woods will ultimately be remembered as a 'minor blip.' Knight's opinions about the Woods' story were published today in SportsBusiness Journal as part of a Q&A about endorsements and sports business. Staff Writer Tripp Mickle caught up with him last week in New York, where Knight was honored as the National Football Foundation's 2009 Gold Medal Recipient.
Here’s a part of the Q&A that dealt with Woods:
You look at someone like Tiger Woods and this episode of infidelity. Does this change the concept of building brands around athletes?
Knight: Not for us. It’s part of the game.
Does a company like Nike or another company run a risk in building brands around athletes?
Knight: There’s always a risk. One of the things we always try to do when we have a big endorsement is check out the character and the pattern of the individual. But you’re not going to get it right all the time, and if you’re going to be in the business you have to recognize that.
With Tiger, a person who was believed to be of more upstanding character beforehand, is it possible to check for everything?
Knight: Obviously, he was one we checked out and he came out clean, and I think he’s been really great. When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.