So reportedly Armstrong confessed to Oprah that he doped throughout his career.
No doubt his PR team has worked countless hours to come up with a rationale that would make his cheating OK in the eyes of a large swath of the public. It will probably work, but only if he succeeds in narrowing the scope to the doping offenses.
Two things to consider:
- “Everybody was doing it” will probably be good enough an excuse for mainstream America. It’s of course a new lie to cover up an old lie, but hey, who cares about the details. If you really believe the field was level because everybody was doing the same, then you have to believe a mediocre time-trialer and climber can become best-in-class through chemotherapy. And you have to believe those US Postal helpers were all more talented than most other teams’ leaders.
- Much more importantly, the doping is only a small aspect of Lance’s failings. And apologizing (fake or real) for that shouldn’t let him off-the-hook for the rest.
Because where Lance was truly one-of-a-kind was not in his training, his focus, his climbing or time-trialing. It was not even in his doping. Where he was truly unique was in the havoc he wreaked on others during his ten-year reign. He didn’t just deny doping like so many of his contemporaries, he actively sought to ruin those who spoke out.
Something tells me Oprah won’t be asking about the countless lives he’s tried to destroy (ironically while protecting himself from scrutiny by wrapping himself in the blanket of ultimate cancer patient protector).
If the confession happens, I am happy for those who have spoken out for so long, that they will finally make the leap from “sad, cynical, jealous bitch/asshole” to “courageous individual” in the eyes of so many who still believe the lie.
But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this is about them; it’s about Mr. Armstrong positioning himself for the rest of his life. Given the willingness of sports fans to forgive and ignore the bigger picture, his odds are good.
Next up, “what would really warrant a ban reduction for Armstrong”. To receive it automatically, you can subscribe here.