Can We Trust Lance Armstrong Again? Steven Folkins

“Lance Armstrong is an idiot.” I keep hearing this statement over and over and admittedly I tend to agree, not just because he lied, but because he is admitting it now so late in the game. We’ve all heard of the spouse that finally admits that s/he had an affair thirteen years ago and want to know why now? Why did they come clean after all this time? How much inner turmoil have they been going through for the past thirteen years, if any? Do we even care about their inner turmoil after all this time? Do we care about Lance Armstrong’s inner turmoil?

He said the reason he finally admitted to lying was that he saw his oldest son defending him and couldn’t live with that knowledge. As a parent, I can see how hard that must have been. To know that a lie you have been living with and you have been dealing with on your own was now no longer your own lie, but your children unwittingly became part of your lie. That must not have been easy to deal with over time. In his interview with Oprah last week, Armstrong spoke about coming clean to his son, “I said, `Listen, there’s been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I’ve always denied that and I’ve always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That’s probably why you trusted me on it.’ Which makes it even sicker… “And uh, I told Luke, I said, `Don’t defend me anymore. Don’t.’ “He said okay. He just said, `Look, I love you. You’re my dad. This won’t change that.” At this point in the interview I had to stop and wonder what kind of issues will this cause for his son in the future? Will he ever really be able to trust his father?

Trust is really the big issue here.

Lance Armstrong admitted what he did. Yay for him. He lost millions of dollars in sponsorships and endorsement deals, had to walk away from his Livestrong foundation, and has a lifetime ban from competition with his unveiling of the truth. The foundation is, of course, one of the things that came out of all of this that does actually do good. Those yellow bracelets that people wore (I saw someone with one on two weeks ago – I wonder if they’ve taken it off since then) did help bring awareness and money to fighting cancer and we can never take away that good work – a legacy of sorts.

Armstrong does think he has been treated a little unfairly with his lifetime ban, though. It’s his staunch denouncement of the claims that he was doping from officials and former teammates that really rub most people the wrong way now that we know he was lying. There is no trust left available to give him. Who would trust him now? Why would we trust him? He said his confession was too late and you know what? It is.

I believe that he wants to compete again. He’s said he has. He’s been doing triathlons – getting back to his roots so to speak. This confession just feels like another part of his overall plan to get back in competition or rather getting back into competition to get paid cash monies. He’s lived a real cushy life and that $75 million dollars he walked away from with this confession/scandal must have not only been hard for his wallet, but hard for his ego.

He will go back to competition. He will make money again that way. That’s just way things go here in America. I mean look at Tiger Woods, the circumstances are a little different I admit, but the disgraced athlete can only be disgraced for so long these days. Sorry Pete Rose you should have gambled in the 21st Century. The point is does anyone really trust Tiger Woods? Will he ever have the same stature he once did? No. I don’t think so and neither will Lance Armstrong. Do we care about a comeback story? No. I don’t think so, because there’s no trust left for us to give him and that’s one of the hardest things to get back.

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  1. As a cyclist and a lifelong fan of Lance Armstrong, I was disappointed, but not surprised. In fact, most cyclists and fans knew something was up. We didn’t know the specifics, but we all had a strong suspicion that Lance had done something. Although it was hard to prove, no positive doping tests, etc, everyone had a general nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away.

    Though I’m not defending his actions in any way, I can see why he did it. During the 90′s and early 00′s, performance enhancing drugs were, unfortunately, very common in the world of sports, specifically in this case, cycling. Most Pro-Tour cyclists have admitted that nearly everyone was doing something, trying something new, or at least testing the waters. It was an ugly time. So, for Armstrong, who was coming off of a horrific and terrible ordeal with cancer, using PED’s and trying blood-doping (which many agree shouldn’t be “illegal” as it’s your own oxygenated blood), would have been very tempting– something he obviously gave into.

    I cannot defend his choices. Cheating is cheating. I can empathize with the idea of Lance using substances to level the playing field, just to TRY and compete with everyone else, but for him to vehemently deny it as he did for so long, was a poor decision. It killed all trust the fans had in him. Had he come clean earlier on in his career, I still believe that he would have been a good athlete, as evidenced by his performance coming out of retirement (2008– his third place finish in the Tour de France, post-doping). His work with the Livestrong Foundation has been unprecedented. Livestrong has, and continues to raise huge amounts of money for cancer research and patients lives.

    None of this cancels out his regrettable decision to cheat and lie about it. But it’s a definite gray area in the world of sports. Do we hold every single other athlete to this same standard? God only knows how many others are out there, shivering in their beds at night, waiting to be found out. It’s time we set the bar higher for ourselves and for our athletes: If you made a mistake or a stupid decision, right the wrong quickly and be done with it. Apologize for it and serve your time, suffer through the consequences. Everyone lies and everyone does dumb things. Be a better decision maker than Lance Armstrong. Maybe that’s the lesson we learn from him.

    To Mr. Armstrong: I’m sorry you felt that you had to even the score by making the same stupid choices that the other cyclists had made. I wish, with every bone in my body, that you had not. Your courage to overcome cancer is what I’ll remember you by. Perhaps it’s better this way.

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