What's Up Lance Armstrong, All American Boy?
Posted By: Jen Fad on January 17, 2013 |
How I'd love to not think about Lance Armstrong. Again. Ever. But I live in Austin. And have lived here since Willie was singing at the Armadillo World Headquarters and George W. Bush was skipping out on National Guard service. We have a bikeway here named after Lance and he's got a prominent bike store downtown and a cancer foundation and there is a city full of sycophant Lance lovers and politicians who would forgive him for polluting Hill Country swimming holes. Or dumping rock star girlfriends when they get cancer. Just because he is Lance. And taught us all that it's OK to put on Spandex and ride skinny tire bicycles and beat our chests about greatness. Just work hard.
And lie. And cheat. And bully people who know you are lying and cheating.
I simply do not understand Lance Armstrong apologists. The arguments they make are absurdist in the extreme. Don't we need to be concentrating our legal resources elsewhere? Oh, wow, big shock, an athlete doped and cheated. The people who trivialize Armstrong's cheating would not tolerate similar behavior by their own children. But Lance gets a defense most cheaters and lawbreakers don't. He is able to raise what one critic calls, "The Magic Cancer Shield." Because he's done so much for so many others, can't we just let it go?
Nope. We can't. Because we shouldn't. What really happened? Lance Armstrong betrayed the mythology of the American dream. We all wanted to believe in him. He was the All-American boy with the All-American name. He overcame cancer. Won the toughest endurance sport ever devised. Whipped the tar out of the cheese-eating surrender monkey Frenchies in their own sport. And then he founded a charity to help those afflicted with cancer so they could write their own comeback tales. Good stuff. Nice narrative.
But mostly a blatant lie.
Anyone who thinks Lance Armstrong's current apologia is more than self-serving is more naïve than people who think it's normal to ride a bike up a mountain faster than most athletes can ride one down. The federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis has the potential to financially destroy liar Lance. Landis claims in the suit that the U.S. Postal Service was defrauded of more than $30 million dollars by Lance, Landis, and their teammates because they used drugs and blood-doped. If he wins the case, Landis could get triple damages, which is close to $100 million. (His share would be a third.) That $100 million is the approximate value of Armstrong's fortune. He'd be wiped out to pay the court claims. And Landis would be comfortable for the rest of his life.
Armstrong's attorneys are reportedly scurrying to reach a negotiated settlement with Landis, who Lance called a liar more times than he called him a teammate or a friend. They need to work out a deal before Thursday because that's the last day on which the U.S. justice department will decide whether to join the lawsuit.
Thursday (today) is also the first day of Oprah Winfrey's two-day broadcast of Lance's admission, but not apology. Armstrong is likely to blame the sport and its culture for his behavior. And not express true contrition or apologize. According to reports, when he stopped by the offices of his Livestrong Foundation before taping with Oprah, he apologized for the stress he had caused the organization's staff. He did not apologize for being a cheater, liar, or bully. He's likely to have taken the same approach with Winfrey. A vague acknowledgment that he got caught up in what...
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