LT Dropped By Nutrisystem After Rape Charge

Diet company cites "severity of the allegations" in canning troubled linebacker

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, May 7, 2010  |  Updated 9:53 AM PDT
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LT Dropped By Nutrisystem After Rape Charge

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former New York Giants linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor appears at Ramapo Town Court in Suffern, N.Y., Thursday, May 6, 2010. Taylor was arraigned on rape and prostitution charges in an assault on a 16-year-old runaway who police said was brought to his suburban New York hotel room against her will. (AP Photo/Seth Harrison, Pool)

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It didn't take long for diet firm Nutrisystem to shed Lawrence Taylor.

Hours after news broke that the Hall of Fame ex-linebacker had been arrested on suspicion of rape, Nutrisystem canned Taylor as a company spokesman, according to TMZ.com.

"Based on the severity of these allegations, Nutrisystem has made the decision to sever our relationship with Mr. Taylor effective immediately," a spokesperson told the site.

In now-obsolete ads, Taylor is seen sporting a paunch and then showing off a trim waist, along with the claim that he lost 35 pounds on the plan.

“During my time as a professional football player, I was constantly doing strength and conditioning workouts,” Taylor, 51, said on commercials that began airing last year. “But after retirement, I tried many other diets, and even tried to lose weight on my own. In each case I had difficulty achieving my target weight, until I turned to NutriSystem. I have had tremendous success and I’ve already lost 30 pounds. Using NutriSystem while training for Dancing With The Stars has given me an easy way to eat a balanced diet and stay in shape.”

When the company hired Taylor it had to know of his volatile history, which included numerous drug arrests. But Taylor claims to have been clean for 12 years, and remained a beloved and charismatic figure.

However, after he was arrested in an upstate New York hotel room and charged with raping a 16-year-old runaway from the Bronx who authorities say was brought to him by a pimp, Nutrisystem dropped him. The company's newest athlete/pitchman is San Diego Padres' pinch hitter extraordinaire Matt Stairs. The 42-year-old ballplayer once carried 230 pounds on his 5-foot-9 frame, but dropped down under 200 pounds over the winter in a successful bid to catch on with a big league team.

 “My daughter didn’t recognize me,” Stairs, the second-oldest player in the Major Leagues, said recently. “I’m a totally different person.”

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