Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Case Against Lance Armstrong

I just finished watching 60 Minutes this evening:;cbsCarousel

They dedicated over 35 minutes of tonight's show to an interview with Tyler Hamilton, one of Lance Armstrong's teammates on the US Postal Service cycling team that helped lead Lance to Tour De France victories in the early 2000's.

Lance Armstrong is one of the exhibits in my Modern Museum of Gripes and Grievances. I should be clear that Lance Armstrong, through his Livestrong Foundation has single-handedly raised millions of dollars for cancer research and prevention. That is a great thing.

But Lance Armstrong is also arrogant, condescending, egotistical and generally not a likable guy. However, he is very powerful in the world of sports and particularly in cycling, and he wields that power like a sword, cutting off anyone who dares question him, his motives and ultimately his claims that he is and was clean as he won his 7 Tour de France titles.

But as was pointed out in the 60 minutes report, and as I was just reminded through a tweet from my brother Tim, Marion Jones never tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, and maintained her innocence until additional evidence proved that she had doped. She finally had to admit her guilt.

What bothers me the most about Lance Armstrong is the short and condescending way he defends himself, as if he is better than those who choose to question him in the face of overwhelming evidence. He cites the 500 plus drug tests he has never failed. It's interesting that we haven't heard him say "I have never taken performance enhancing drugs, and have never been involved in blood doping." We've only heard him say he's never failed a drug test.

So here I am, trying to strike a balance between the great work that Lance Armstrong's foundation has done to raise money for cancer research and prevention, and the fact that he is using the same influence and power that made Livestrong so successful, to continue to perpetuate his claims of innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


Anonymous said...

Not sure what balance you're talking about, Jiresell. Are you implying that you can't simultaneously show respect the Livestrong Foundation and disapproval of Armstrong's alleged cheating, but must find a balance between the two? Why would you think that?


Jiresell said...

I think I can strike that balance, but your comment is right on. If it ultimately proves out that Lanace Armstrong took PED's, does that mean his brand, which was built on his cycling success, is tainted? And if so, is the money raised through his brand ultimately "dirty" money because it was given under the guise that Lance Armstrong had overcome so much for his success through training, peserverance, belief in himself?

Bottom line: I can separate the two. If Lance is guilty, the Livestrong foundation ought to find another more worthy spokesman who can truly represent their mission.