Justin Gatlin: Nike deal for drugs cheat sparks athletes' disgust

Justin Gatlin
Controversial sprinter Justin Gatlin has been given a new sponsorship deal by US sportswear giant Nike.

News that drug cheat sprinter Justin Gatlin has been given a new sponsorship deal by Nike has infuriated many other athletes.

The 33-year-old American may have dominated the 100m and 200m in 2014, but several of his peers don't think this should equate to a new sponsorship deal.

Gatlin has served two doping bans, including a four-year suspension between 2006-2010.

Double Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley tweeted:external-link "What sort of a message is that from #Nike signing new sponsorship with multiple drug cheat Justin Gatlin? #DrugCheatsOut #Nike marketing you've got this really wrong this time."

Nike-sponsored marathon runner Paula Radcliffe also waded-in with a Facebook and Twitter message venting her disappointment.

Paula Radcliffe was not impressed with Nike's latest signing

Team GB London 2012 marathon runner Scott Overall was appalled, too, tweeting:external-link "Disgusting how @justingatlin can cheat, come back & secure a sponsorship deal. Just leave the sport to clean athletes."

Athens 2004 heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton added:external-link "What inspiration does Justin Gatlin give up & coming athletes @nike? Take drugs, get caught twice and sign a shoe contract?! #Doping #cheat".

Jenny Meadows
Jenny Meadows' response on Twitter to Justin Gaitlin

British 800m runner Jenny Meadows tweeted: "Gatlin gets Nike deal having served 2 doping bans when clean athletes lead world indoor rankings & have no funding or sponsorship! Justice?"

Gatlin was sponsored by Nike prior to his second ban but has been wearing Chinese firm Xtep's kit since 2012.

His US team-mate Tyson Gay, who has also recently returned from a drugs ban, will also be wearing Nike clothes and spikes this season, although the company denies this is a result of a formal tie-in.

Nike confirmed it signed a new agreement with Gatlin, but had no further comment.

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