NEW YORK (
) -- Nike has been vocal about its support for
in its sponsorship deal, even as Tiger attempts to weather the media storm that has descended on his personal debacles.
But on Monday,
chairman and co-founder Phil Knight took the company's fervent support for the legendary golfer to a whole new level when he said that history will barely register Tiger Woods' infidelities when it looks back at his career.
Knight says that Woods-type scandals hasn't changed Nike's athlete-focused branding strategies. It's all "part of the game," he explains.
"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," Knight tells
in an interview. In fact, Knight still maintains that Woods' character has been exceptional, even as disappointed fans and sponsors continue to digest in disbelief the mounting revelations of his philandering ways.
"Obviously, he was one we checked out and he came out clean, and I think he's been really great," Knight tells
For Knight, building a brand around athletes always carries a certain risk that even the careful vetting of character can't prevent, but Woods has continued to impress him.
Many readers of
might disagree with Knight's views, given that the majority of respondents in our Tiger Woods poll last week said they think sponsors who are backing Woods are
Those readers are probably now applauding
end its deal with Woods
following his decision to take an indefinite hiatus from professional golf.
Gillette division says it will begin reducing Wood's role in its marketing plans, while
and Tag Heuer say that they are reviewing his contracts with them.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
>>Tiger Woods' Sponsors (Mostly) Standing by Woods
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