While Jobu is on vacation, enjoy one of our greatest hits as Jobu reacts to the whole Lance Armstrong thing.
I’ve been meaning to weigh on this issue since the news came out, but I haven’t had the time because we were gearing up for Big League Clu’s College Football Week, but I find myself with some extra time now, so here we go: In case you missed it (if you did, you might be dead), Lance Armstrong decided to stop his fight against the allegations that he doped it up for basically his entire career. The USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) took this as an admission of guilt and recommended that the UCI (International Cycling Union) strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and everything else he’s ever won ever (if they could have, they would have stripped him of his win against cancer). So, is Lance guilty? Is he a victim of a witch hunt? Should you give a crap? The answer to all of these questions is… well… kinda!
Ok so here’s the full story. Rumors have swirled about Armstrong cheating for basically his entire career. This is because he was consistently the best performer in a sport absolutely riddled with cheats. I mean seriously, is there a sport more marred by blood doping and steroids violations than cycling (maybe baseball)? Anyway, Lance has been fighting these allegations since 1999 and he finally decided that, rather than head to arbitration to plead his case, he would simply stop his fight and accept whatever consequences the USADA felt like leveling on him. Basically, his stance is that he’s tired of the witch hunt and he doesn’t give a shit anymore.
Is it possible that Lance simply realized that the arbiter was probably going to rule against him and so he decided to take his bike and go home? Of course! The USADA was armed with eye-witness testimony (albeit from a bunch of accused or outed doping former cyclists), Armstrong’s associations with some less than up-and-up doctors and blood tests that showed signs of being consistent with blood doping (although not a positive test of any kind). From my understanding, testing done on frozen samples from his 1999 Tour de France were re-tested with new experimental methods and came up positive for EPO. The science of the EPO tests is still inexact though. In my opinion, it’s either a dirty test or it’s not, and that decision must be 100% accurate. Also, your key witnesses probably shouldn’t be dirty doctors or guys who are testifying just because they were offered lessened sanctions by the UCI and USADA.
My real question is this: How can someone who has never failed a test be subjected to an arbitration hearing that decides if he cheated or not? If you get accused of murder, but there’s no real evidence that you did it, you don’t go in front of some guy who decides if you probably did it or not… right? How can an arbiter make any kind of accurate decision? It comes down to what one man thinks despite Armstrong never having failed a test of any kind.
Also, this entire process has clearly been a witch hunt. Armstrong is retired, and has been since 2011. Why are we still trying to prove that he cheated? Why don’t we focus on cleansing the sport of everyone else who is cheating right now as we speak? Way too much energy is being pumped into taking down a guy who hasn’t posed a threat to any tournament in a few years. Let it go. If he has positive blood tests, strip him of his titles. If he doesn’t, just shake your fist at him from a distance like people do with anyone who gets away with cheating. Let the guy run his charity. You know, the one that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and inspired billions of people around the world.
Do I think Lance cheated? It’s really impossible to say. Just because the people pointing fingers at him are cheaters trying to avoid lifetime bans, does that mean they’re lying? The culture of sports today say that if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it’s probably a steroids cheater. It’s a little sad to think that, but I think there’s probably something he’s trying to hide. That being said, Armstrong has never failed a test. The thirteen year chase is nothing more than a witch hunt. While that doesn’t mean the witch isn’t guilty, it’s still ridiculous for the USADA to exhaust this many resources on a guy who only probably rides his bike to work nowadays (when he’s not in his bentley or whatever). This case should have ended when Armstrong retired. Also, the UCI probably shouldn’t taken all those donations Armstrong made to them if they thought he was cheating… right?
Even if he’s banned forever, Armstrong and his millions of dollars will be just fine, and he will continue his charitable work with the Livestrong Foundation, which is something no one can take away from him.
Featured image courtesy of: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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