Three months ago, I blogged about Lance Armstrong after the news that he was conceding the fight to prove his innocence regarding his usage of performance enhancing drugs, and that he forthwith would be stripped of his seven Tour de France Titles. (It took me almost 700 blogs, but I finally snuck the word ‘forthwith’ into one of them.)
And now tomorrow, on Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. will come the most anticipated interview that nobody wants to hear. Oprah Winfrey herself has confirmed that Lance will admit he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.
I had to go back and read what I wrote in October. I pretty much said that there are a lot of mixed emotions involved — nobody likes cheaters, there’s no question about that. But at that same time, for more than a decade, Armstrong raised millions of dollars for cancer research. Not only did he do that, but he made it cool to care about raising awareness.
Livestrong bracelets were everywhere back when I was in middle school and high school. Having that yellow rubber insignia draped around your wrist was a universal sign of solidarity. You don’t see that much, but because of Lance, it happened.
So there is no question that he has done a ton for cancer research, whether he cheated or not in his cycling career.
But now it’s not just about him being a cheater. It’s about him being a liar. And that is something that is much different. People cheat. It happens. When you’re a competitor, you want to win. If you know others around you are trying to gain a competitive advantage, then — at the time — it may almost seem unfair to not cheat.
Cheating is not unforgivable. But lying to our faces (through a camera) could be. It’s a little disheartening, I have to admit. If we’re going to defame and diminish athletes like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for their steadfast denials of PED’s, then it would be pretty hypocritical to let Lance completely off the hook.
But it doesn’t take away the other things that he’s done in life, so to me, he’s not a “villain.” He’s not exactly the personification of human decency either, but when you make an overall judgment on his moral fiber, you have to look at the entire package.
I will most certainly tune into the interview tomorrow. Not because I need to hear him admit his wrongdoings with his own mouth, but because I want to see his demeanor. I want to see if he appears to be truly apologetic for lying to us for ten years. His sincerity during tomorrow night’s interview will mean a lot for me in terms of how I view him going forward.
Also, how the heck does Oprah get all of these major interviews? When did Oprah Winfrey become a priest? Why are people suddenly divulging all of their deepest, darkest secrets to her?
What happens when Oprah needs to reveal some type of information about herself that she had been concealing for years? Does she sit in front of a mirror, and interview herself? Does she do that in her spare time anyway?
Anyway, my prediction is that people will watch the interview, talk about it the next day at work, and then they will kind of just stop caring about it. Nobody wants to hate Lance Armstrong. He overcame cancer. He created a fundraising organization to fight cancer. So I think it will all kind of just be swept under a rug. Armstrong will probably lay low for a few years, and people will simply forget about him.
And I don’t care what anybody says, his scene in Dodgeball is still one of the best cameos in recent history.
Can we all learn from Lance? Probably.
We can learn that lying is easy. By denying something, you protect your image. You avoid a lot of tough questions and a lot of hard times.
But you can’t avoid them forever. If you fuck up, and you get caught, then just live up to it. By lying about it — repeatedly — you only exacerbate the issue.
And now that Lance is 100% officially out of the picture, we can now turn to America’s next premiere cyclist, which is…
God dammit Lance.