Yesterday, disgraced former billionaire “Sir” Allen Stanford was arrested by the FBI in Virginia. The flamboyant financial honcho is accused of defrauding investors out of over 8 billion dollars. Before his financial house of cards collapsed, Stanford was famous in sports circles for being a major sponsor of teams and athletes, including Vijay Singh.
As his empire crumbled, his Stanford International Group defaulted on nearly all its sponsorship obligations, including Singh. So after all that, and after yesterday’s high-profile arrest, why the heck did Singh show up to his U.S. Open tee time this morning with Stanford’s name plastered all over him?
With all the outrage over things like AIG’s and Citibank’s stadium and sports sponsorships, why isn’t anyone questioning why Singh is festooned in the name of a man whose entire fortune was built on the backs of bilked investors? As CNBC’s Darren Rovell put it:
Talk about loyalty.
Stanford agreed to pay an estimated $8 million to Singh to put its logo on his shirt, hat and golf bag. And even though the company defaulted long ago on its agreement with Singh, the golfer from Fiji is surprisingly still wearing the company’s logos today.
Maybe Stanford has a different reputation in Singh’s native Fiji, but that’s not exactly the kind of branding image he should want to project. It’s a crazy world we live in when a high-profile athlete has no problem wearing the name of someone (allegedly) behind a multi-billion dollar fraud, but the idea of selling practice jersey naming rights to a porn producer is over the line.