I’m going to get on my soapbox for a moment and tell you exactly what I think.
I think what’s happening to Lance Armstrong is a shame. And flat-out wrong.
Armstrong was one of the most decorated cyclist in my generation.
For a few years, he made the Tour de France relevant.
I remember watching the highlights on Sportscenter with anticipation. Granted, I wasn’t watching the actual race — nobody does that — but I looked forward to hear how he did that day.
I can’t tell you who won this year. Or any year since. I’d be willing to bet 99% of Americans can’t either. Think about it, can you?
For seven consecutive years, the country rallied around Armstrong, who seemed larger than life. For those years, he wasn’t just a man who was the world’s biggest cycling race, he was a man who beat cancer and some of the world’s best on a bike.
However, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report with allegations that Armstrong was doping during those years.
After years and years fighting these allegations — including zero failed drug tests — Armstrong gave up.
I’ll be a little biased here — I believe it was a witch hunt. They wanted Armstrong to be a cheater. And they got what they wanted.
Did he actually cheat? We don’t know for sure, and maybe we never will.
But here’s what I know — the fallout wasn’t worth it.
Let’s compare this to Major League Baseball.
Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids.
The response? Oh, well, thanks for telling us.
The Yankees didn’t forfeit any of their games, his statistics are still relevant.
I’m sure people felt hurt and betrayed, but that was it. MLB was just fine.
Not the case with Armstrong.
Because of this, he has stepped down as chairman of Livestrong — a charity to fight cancer.
Let me ask you this? Is it worth it?
Who didn’t have a yellow Livestrong bracelet? Millions and millions of dollars were raised for cancer research, because of Armstrong. Last year alone, more than $29 million was donated from his charity to cancer-related program.
Let me ask again, is it worth it?
And just to throw salt on the wounds, Nike has severed ties with Armstrong.
Nike can spend an infinite amount of money to make sure the Oregon football team has a new uniform every quarter, but they can’t support Armstrong?
Yes, Armstrong may be a cheater.
He may have pulled the wool over our eyes. Or maybe he didn’t.
To be honest, I don’t care.
What he has done outside of the Tour de France far outweighs what he did on a bicycle.
So, I think if anyone deserves a pass, it’s him.
If we can let A-Rod off with a slap on the wrist, then why are we going after one of the biggest philanthropists in the country?
The effects of the fallout are yet to be seen, and I hope people stick with Armstrong — not as a champion on a bicycle, but as a champion for those affected by cancer.
As for the Anti-Doping Agency, that sounds like a great place to find some extra room in the national budget as both presidential candidates have spoke about.
Even though the Anti-Doping Agency went on a witch hunt and Nike dropped Armstrong, I hope people still support Livestrong. I hope the American public can look past this witch hunt and corporate greed, because if one person can be saved because of Armstrong’s charity, it’s worth it.
I’m guessing the Anti-Doping Agency didn’t know what the fallout was going to be.
But was it worth it?