Jobu reacts to the Lance Armstrong’s confession.
In what has to be one of the least shocking revelations in the history of sports, Lance Armstrong has come clean about using performance enhancing drugs in his career as the best cyclist in the history of the sport (We covered the scandal a bit in August). The fact that everybody and their mother knows he did it might make this shocking, but I was surprised at how disappointed I still was by the revelation. The curtain has been pulled back to reveal one of the biggest cheaters in sports history, and I kind of still don’t think we should really care.
Despite the dark cloud that surrounded his entire career and retirement, I guess I held out a little hope that he was clean. I also kind of felt bad for him during the blatant witch hunt that was going on over the summer. I felt like he was retired, and he should be left alone. At least he shouldn’t have been a scapegoat for other cheaters trying to lessen their own penalties for doping. Seriously, the scum of the sport were the finger pointers in this case. It was a little ridiculous.
Anyway, Armstrong was subsequently stripped of all his titles, lost his Nike sponsorships and even resigned from the board of his own foundation, which has raised millions upon millions of dollars to help rid the world of cancer. That was the one thing I didn’t think would be affected, and I feel bad for him about it. Stripping him of his titles is well deserved, as is whatever lifetime ban they beset upon him, but forcing him to resign from his charitable foundation, albeit indirectly, is a shame. Unfortunately, Lance has no one to blame but himself in this case, because as ridiculous as everything has gotten, it wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t a cheater.
Lance has probably disappointed millions of people by finally coming clean about the doping, especially people who also hate Oprah Winfrey (I’m sure there’s a good cross section there). He has probably also begun his long road back to good graces. Say what you want about his cheating, the man still beat cancer after having a minuscule chance of living. He then used the fame and fortune he received (albeit from cheating), to start a foundation that has probably helped thousands, if not millions of lives. The sport of cycling was more of a vehicle for him to become the person he became. Perhaps he held onto his denials too long, but then again, he probably never thought he’d be under attack well into his retirement, right? I also still find it very shady that, suspecting him to be a cheater, the International Cycling Union still gladly accepted generous donations from him every year. I’m sure they’ll say he wasn’t a cheater back then or something lame.
To me, this revelation really isn’t that big a deal. Of course, I’m not a huge cycling fan either. Perhaps if a Derek Jeter came out and admitted doping, I’d be a lot more devastated. However, my outside perspective on the sport and the issue really make me think that Armstrong will eventually get past this. Although I mocked Oprah a little earlier in this post, she was probably the right choice for his so called coming out party. Something about her makes people accept others, I think. I haven’t yet seen the interview, but from what I hear, she went after him hard. I’m assuming he broke down and cried during his apology too, which should help.
I’m curious to see if Armstrong has to endure a Federal indictment like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds did. He’s lied about the allegations for a long time, in front of a lot of people, including a grand jury. He has, most likely, perjured himself. He also sued and won money defending his lies, which is pretty awful. He also allegedly bullied and harassed potential witnesses to try to get them to refrain from testifying. To be honest, jail time, or a giant fine of some kind, would probably help his public comeback go a little faster. Americans love to tear their heroes down, but we love building them back up even more. If Armstrong can ride this storm out over the next few years, and then go back to work on his image, he’ll be fine. I’m sure he will eventually get back to his charitable donations and public speaking appearances (perhaps with a new spin on the doping scandal), and Americans will accept him again.
I mean let’s get serious. He’s a scumbag and all, but he only cheated at sports. Way too much attention was paid to this scandal, and it definitely got out of hand. He’ll pay for his crimes and scumbaggery. That being said, the USDA and UCI can’t strip him of all the lives his foundation has enriched (and continues to enrich without him on the board). It won’t be easy, but Lance will be back. Some speculate that he’s even admitting to the cheating so that he might have his lifetime ban lifted so that he can continue running triathalons (hopefully not cheating) to make more money. I don’t know if that’s the case, but whatever his comeback is, it won’t have a cloud of doubt over it at every turn. To steal the tag line from the short-lived FX series “Lights,” Everyone loves a comeback.
Featured image courtesy of: AP Photo/Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc., George Burns
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