After reading all the things I have about Lance Armstrong and the doping he allegedly was involved in, I’m not too sure what I think about him any more.
Both the United States Anti-Doping Administration and the governing body of cycling, United Cycling International, have decided to strip Armstrong of his seven straight Tour de France titles after compiling evidence of systematic doping and an elaborate cover-up to get around drug testers. The USADA compiled a report over 1,000 pages long to document their case against him.
After initially questioning the findings, last week UCI not only went along with them, they even went so far as to vilify Armstrong.
“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” UCI president Pat McQuaid said at a news conference.
Ever since USADA started looking into the matter, I’ve seen all the columnists who once backed Armstrong are now backpedaling faster than Armstrong pedaled forward.
Armstrong is also losing endorsements like he’s radioactive.
Now some of you may remember that I was a staunch supporter of Armstrong. Heck, I even said he should continue the fight against the allegations is he’s really clean, just like he took to court anyone who said he doped.
Instead, when it came time to arbitrate with USADA, he chose not to fight, and instead called the process “unfair.”
Here’s why I don’t know what to think on this anymore.
Armstrong said he has been tested over 500 times and never failed one. But so did Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, who were implicated as part of the BALCO scandal with “the cream” and “the clear,” designer steroids made specifically to avoid detection.
Along with that, according to USADA’s report, there was a large conspiracy to avoid detection, just like “the cream” and “the clear” were.
As I mentioned earlier, Armstrong took to court anyone who would claim he was cheating. You would do that if your name had been defamed. Bonds had been accused of the same in two different books and never sued anyone – probably because the books were truthful.
Jim Rome brought up a good point Friday about Armstrong’s endorsers bailing on him now that the USADA report is out. Rome asked if the sponsors, specifically Nike, are bailing on him because he doped or because he’s no longer competing and not in the public eye where the logos can be displayed?
If it’s the latter, then how are people still having Michael Jordan endorse their products? He gave up on basketball years ago and you can still see his picture on Hanes advertisements in Wal-Mart or Meijer.
And remember, Armstrong is a cancer survivor, and set up the Livestrong Foundation to help others fight cancer. He has stepped down as chairman of that foundation, however.
Add all those things up and there’s a conflict in my mind as to whether he cheated or not. I don’t know whether I should vilify him like I do Bonds or whether I should continue my support of him.
Help me out by telling me what you think in the comment section below. You might sway me one way or the other.