Obligatory Lance Armstrong Post
OK, the dust has settled. Let’s talk about #Doprah
If you watched the interview, you we likely as disgusted as I was. I was a follower and a supporter. 2 and 1/2 years ago, I wrote a sincere and heartfelt appeal for donations for the LAF when my mother got breast cancer for the second time. After the Oprah interview, I felt personally hurt and betrayed by Lance Armstrong. I had asked people for money on behalf of my mother and her illness for his cancer foundation. I think it’s safe to speculate that if he lied about doping so pervasively, we can all wonder what else he lies about. I really hope the money I raised went to helping people suffering from cancer. I’m no longer confident that it did.
It’s convenient that he claims doping stopped in 2005, 8 years ago. That’s places him outside the statue of limitations for perjury. I’ll take this opportunity to remind readers that although many athletes have doped over the years in many sports (Jose Canseco, Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, a good portion of the NFL–just to name a few), I’ll remind you about track star Marion Jones. Guess what she got for doping? 6 months of jail time. Jail! These guys lost a few endorsement deals and won’t get into the Hall of Fame. Big deal. They didn’t spend 6 months in a cement cell as punishment. We should ask ourselves why we went after the female track athlete and none of these much bigger fish in the pond. Where is the justice? I’m not seeing it.
I think I’m most surprised by the “man on the street” interviews I’ve seen with the general public. The sentiment, “well everyone was doing it, so it wasn’t really cheating” is a load of crap, and I’ll tell you why. Not everyone was cheating. There are a lot of pros, pros you’ve never heard from because the chose to race clean. They would place in the top 10 but rarely podium. They would spend just as long or longer training and racing as the dopers did. They would scrape by on meager contracts and occasional prize winnings while people like Lance made millions upon millions of dollars. They slept on couches and carpooled across the country to races while Lance took a private jet. These men and women cared more deeply about the sport of cycling than Lance Armstrong ever did. Lance Armstrong claims to love cycling, but he’s done his very best to kill it and profit from it with his lies. He was the one non-cycling America looked to as a representative of the sport, and now when America thinks of cycling, they think we are all a bunch of dopers.
Yes, there was a climate of doping. Is it still cheating? Absolutely. Doping is clearly against the rules, and if they are testing your body fluids to ensure you are not doping, I’m not sure how anyone could think doping was OK. And for those who say “well everyone was doing it so it wasn’t cheating,” try applying that logic to anything else that is wrong. Cheating on your wife, the SATs, skimming money off the top of the cash registers…people do these things and that doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s a cop out.
But even still, I could half forgive him for just the doping. I really could. But the way he perpetuated the lie and did so without mercy is what is so disgusting. If you watched the interview, you probably felt incredulous about the depth and breadth of his lies. Tyler Hamilton and Betsy Andreu say he’s still lying and lied a bit more in that very interview. I have spent a little bit of time thinking about Lance Armstrong as a man, and I have come to feel sorry for him. This is a truly screwed up human being. He is a vicious, pathological liar and displays sociopathic tendencies. I feel very bad for his children, who he also lied to, and that will affect their ability to trust people for the rest of their lives. This is a sad story for sports, and a sadder story for cycling, and the saddest for Lance’s kids.
It’s time to start to put the pieces back together again, but I think we can do it without Lance Armstrong. I don’t think he can help cycling, I think he can only continue to hurt it. His work lies within himself and with his immediate family, and the friends he hung out to dry along the way. But even if he never tells another lie again, I will never really be able to believe in him again.
PS–I hope to never feel compelled to write about this ever again.