While Accenture dropped its endorsement of Tiger Woods on Sunday, Nike head honcho Phil Knight didn’t indicate there would be any changes in their relationship with the golfer. In an interview with SportsBusiness Journal, Knight downplayed Tiger’s “episode of infidelity,” saying it’s “part of the game” and it wouldn’t change Nike’s strategy of brand-building their athletes.
He also mentioned that their initial background check on Tiger came out without a blemish. (But that was in, what, 1996?) Knight made it clear they don’t necessarily view the controversy surrounding Tiger as a long-term problem: “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.”
Though Nike’s continued support of Tiger probably won’t change, according to an inside source, they are just as much in the dark as everyone else in regards to Tiger’s well-being and decision-making. Since the night of the car accident, apparently Tiger hasn’t personally returned any calls from their president or head of marketing. Given the company pays him upwards of $30 million annually, imagine how pleased they are that they haven’t heard from one of their top endorsers. But obviously these days Tiger’s not talking to anyone outside of his tight-knit inner circle, and Nike has to deal with it, like the rest of us.