Lance…Say It Ain’t So: How to Feel Now That Armstrong Admits to Doping

Seven time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong was stripped of all of his titles amidst doping allegations.

Seven time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong was stripped of all of his titles amidst doping allegations.

There comes a time in most celebrity scandals when the weight of the secret becomes too great. There is a moment when the lie begins to unravel at a daunting pace and you begin to realize that the more you tell the lie, the less people that ultimately believe it. Soon you are the only one who will stand by the lie knowing full well that it is not true. Lance Armstrong reached that point in his lie and according to sources close to the situation, he confessed to the allegations of doping to Oprah Winfrey in a taped interview on Monday. The interview is set to air on Winfrey’s network, OWN, this Thursday and Friday night.

Following the confession, we are now all left to wonder how to feel. Did he cheat? Yes. Did he lie? Yes. Despite the clear cons in all of this, is it fair to ignore the pros? Armstrong’s life and career can be described as night and day. His life has been inspiring to millions of people worldwide and his charitable exploits are astounding. However, he lied to us over and over again and cheated. Despite the dichotomy between his two lives, they are undeniably linked and we have to decide whether or not to view them that way, or to take them in as separate entities.

Let’s start with the bad.

Armstrong has been accused on several occasions to have been on one of the most sophisticated and well carried-out programs of doping sports has ever seen. He carried out that program and turned it into seven Tour de France titles won from 1999-2005. Reports state that Armstrong admitted to Winfrey that he began doping prior to his diagnoses of testicular cancer in 1996. Armstrong won seven titles, all along the way denying that he cheated. He built up the U.S. Postal Racing Team on the basis of his cheating. He also went after accusers in the courtroom, acquiring money for the defaming of his so called “good name,” knowing that he was living a lie.

Armstrong reportedly confessed to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air Thursday, Jan 17th.

Armstrong reportedly confessed to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air Thursday, Jan 17th.

Perhaps what leaves such a bad taste in people’s mouths is not necessarily that he cheated. Sure, that’s a horrible thing but we see it so often in sports that it does not seem to make people vehemently hate someone. What amplified Armstrong’s atrocity is the way he denied it. While fellow cyclists were taking the fall all around Armstrong, he kept up the veil around him. He even went so far as to use his battle with cancer as a justification for why he would never dope during an interview with Larry King.

In every sense of the word, Lance Armstrong is a cheater. He is a liar. His behavior in terms of the sport of cycling is not something for young people to look up to or aspire to. His lying and elaborate cover up is also nothing for kids to learn from. But, do we totally dismiss the good he’s done in his life? This is where the argument of “the ends justifying the means,” comes into play.

The Livestrong Bracelet was developed by Nike for Livestrong in 2004.

The Livestrong Bracelet was developed by Nike for Livestrong in 2004.

The testicular cancer that Armstrong was diagnosed with in 1996 later spread to his lungs and doctors gave him only a 40% chance of survival. Something that Armstrong overcame en route to winning his seven titles. His overcoming of cancer coupled with his cycling success inspired people all over the world and led to the establishment of the the Livestrong Foundation. Livestrong, originally known as The Lance Armstrong Foundation, was founded in 1997. The organization has helped to raise an immense amount of money for cancer patients and research. According to their website, Livestrong raised $29,348,074 in 2011 for spending toward cancer initiatives. The organization sky-rocketed in 2004 when they developed the Livestrong band, a fashion I myself and almost everyone I knew wore. The band was developed with the help of Nike and the proceeds from it went to cancer research as well.

It may be easy for us all to hate Lance Armstrong for the lies he told and the cheating. But, can we blame millions of people who have benefited from what his organization did? How can you convince a cancer survivor or someone currently battling the disease that they are wrong for not looking down on someone who has gone through their plight and used his fame to better their circumstance. Perhaps all the lying and denying was Armstrong’s way of protecting his image so Livestrong would not die.

One outspoken sports personality, Michelle Beadle of the NBC Sports Network, took to Twitter this morning to give her take and the exchanges have been quite interesting.

 

One follower responded by telling Beadle that she must have a great perspective from her “high horse,” to which Beadle responded that she does and that the “air is cleaner too.” Another interesting development came Monday evening when ESPN anchor Stuart Scott announced he is once again battling cancer for the third time. Scott chose to use “Livestrong” to hashtag the tweet on the same day as these Armstrong developments.

Perhaps this is too touchy a subject to come up with a concrete answer to. If Lance Armstrong cheated and then went around using his success in a selfish and arrogant way, maybe this would be easier. He used it however to inspire and better the lives of so many people battling a disease that has touched their lives, my life, and most likely your life in some way as well. This seems to be an opinion piece with no true opinion. This is one that everyone has to decide for themselves.

One Response to Lance…Say It Ain’t So: How to Feel Now That Armstrong Admits to Doping

  1. Pingback: Making Some Sense of the Manti Te’o Hoax « Brotherly Love Sports

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