Shame on Lance

I don’t expect people to be perfect, especially celebrities, but Lance Armstrong is now officially an asshole in my mind.  Officially.

I follow football casually, I don’t pretend to follow baseball, and I actually watch Le Tour when I have the chance; I’ve even seen the Tour of California whizz past a few times.

I haven’t been shocked or upset when athletes have been accused or admitted to doping.  I mean, come on, Mark McGuire wasn’t fooling anybody.  I can still picture his Got Milk ad on my friend’s wall in high school with biceps bigger than my waist.

So maybe my hurt and anger stems from the fact that Lance really meant (means?) something to me in many ways.  First, my partner Brian was a cyclist in college and he got me interested in watching the sport.  In 2005, we watched the Tour de France in a bar as we celebrated our second anniversary together.  I watched Lance win most of his seven TDF titles.  He was amazing, and he seemed unstoppable.

More importantly, Lance is an inspiration for cancer patients and survivors all over the world, including me.  I heard his story about having testicular cancer and his incredible recovery and it energized me.  Hell, this guy is my gonad soulmate and I just knew we were meant to make sweet, sweet post-cancer babies with what remained of our reproductive systems.  I wore his yellow Livestrong bracelet in college and I still carry it with me everywhere I go on my keychain.

Again and again Brian and I heard about Lance passing blood test after blood test.  People were always hounding him, saying his success was too good to be true, and his answers were always consistent.  I believed in this guy, and I believed in what he stood for.  I think what makes me the most upset is not that he doped, but that he lied about it.  And he lied about it for SO LONG.  Even after his teammates started being exposed or coming clean, I thought I could count on Lance.  Shame on you.

I still have the yellow bracelet on my keychain, but I don’t think our gonads will be getting together any time soon.

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33 responses

  1. I agree with you: it’s the lying, especially the lying even after he’d been outed, calling other’s characters into question for speaking out about his doping when deep down he knew what he was doing and he knew they were right. I guess the only difference with me is that I never liked him. I’ve always thought he was kind of an asshole, and now he’s just a bigger one.

  2. this is such a tough one for me. he cheated. you’re right. but, i feel like EVERYONE was cheating and that doesn’t make it right, but in a competition you want an even playing field and if they’re all doing one thing or another then you’d want to do it too. i don’t think it’s right, but it is the nature of the thing. and yet, even with the cheating, i still feel like the guy accomplished a lot physically. he did overcome cancer and become an elite athlete, even if you take all of his wins, medals, and yellow jerseys away. he did lie tho. i’m so undecided about it and on the fence. i can’t fully say why. because for example, i think bernie madoff is a complete a**hole. so, why don’t i think so about lance? i’m not sure. but, i will be watching oprah tonight to decide. great piece. and have you seen this notre dame football thing? cray. xo, sm

    • One point that comes to mind after reading your comment – why couldn’t his spectacular recovery from cancer to just compete in cycling be enough?? You’re right, that accomplishment alone is amazing. So why cheat and lie? It takes a very strong person to do what’s right, especially when everyone else is cheating, and I think he made the wrong choice over and over again.
      I have only heard of the notre dame thing in passing….I may have to go look it up now.

      • you are very correct that it takes a very strong person to do what’s right in the face of everyone else doing wrong. sigh. i hope i’d be that person, but sometimes, i don’t know… ugh. and you’re right, he might not have won, but i believe he would’ve made the team regardless and that’s a huge accomplishment. ugh.

  3. I do agree with you. I would, however, like to hear the “truth” from Armstrong as to why he continued to lie for so long. I doubt we’ll ever know the complete “why” of it. Even if he puts out a book, who could believe anything he writes?. I adhere to the rule – Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see. In the horse racing industry, which is the most regulated sport in the world, when an athlete, whether horse or rider, or an owner or trainer, screws up, there are ALWAYS heavy sanctions. The labs are always working to discover new masking agents and sometimes there are substances that do cloud tests for prohibited substances. My feeling is that Armstrong and his people were always one step ahead of the drug tests. Here’s a horrible thought: I wonder if these “people” were those he met while being treated for cancer? I would think researchers with that level of expertise would be far more knowledgeable than those in the sports drug testing labs. Perhaps Oprah got it out of him. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  4. I lived in Austin, TX for a while, Lance’s hometown, where he is practically a god. There was discussion about whether or not to keep the name of the bike trail as Lance Armstrong Way. They decided to keep it. I too am absolutely disgusted by his lying for all these years and for the horrible position he’s placed his foundation in. Same on you, Lance.

  5. I wrote a post about this a couple of months ago… could not agree more! I think Lance, sadly, has cast a shadow over all athletes. If such a public hero, such a seemingly unstoppable athlete and cancer survivor, could look us in our collective eyes and tell us he would not lie, that we should trust him, and then shit all over that… how can we ever tear up at greatness again? So disappointing, because we all feel so sucker punched!

  6. Let me say that I have always hated Lance Armstrong. I always knew that guy was a shady liar, and everyone told me I was completely crazy. He has one nut and rides bikes and cures cancer! You can’t hate that kind of guy.

    You bet your sweet ass I can.

    The thing that gets me most about this situation is not that he lied (professional athletics is full of liars) but that he bullied and sued people who claimed he was doping. He strong armed people who were telling the truth. That’s not just lying, that’s being a total douchebag.

    • Very true about the douchebag thing.
      I haven’t seen the Oprah interview and I don’t know if I even want to, but I hope she ripped him a new one. In my mind she did, like a hyena ripping through a stringy, sinewy douchebag cheetah.

  7. Don’t know if my first comment went through due to internet hiccup. Anyway. It seems athletes lose focus. They lose their love for the game or the sport. Contracts get steeper and lives become more exciting by victories and performing well. The high they get from that, plus the high from the drug making their body feel invincible; it’s a no brainer that more athletes partake in the substance abuse. Sad, but true.

    • I didn’t see your first comment :(
      What you say makes a lot of sense….I just wish there were more out there who could resist all that temptation and the slow progress of justification.

      • In my world, I would take money out of their contracts (they make 100 times the amount to live off in this inflated economy) to use toward drug testing before and after games/events. I would also cause living hell for offenders such as ending their contracts, fining them and going after them criminally.

        But in today’s world they are celebrities and god forbid a celebrity having to take responsibility for a behavior or action.

        I think I may be a little mean, but kids look up to these people and I am tired of the young being succumbed to drugs. When they’re adults, if they choose to be addicts, fine, let them deal with the ramifications. Seeing as a kid that you can do drugs and not get any steep penalties, that’s a little messed up.

        Shame on Lance is right.

      • More than a little messed up.
        I wonder about spending all that time, energy, and money going after athletes criminally like that….I’d rather just cut them off and spend the money on more important things.

      • We go after drug users on the street. People get locked up for drugs all the time. Why should it be any different for someone that’s supposed to be a role model or have a lot of fame?

        I disagree. In fact, this country spends millions on a lot of stuff that isn’t important; like other countries that support terrorism and laws and bills that shouldn’t have been passed and piggy-backed others just to get through.

        After all doesn’t the saying go, if you can’t do the time then you shouldn’t have done the crime. lol I always liked that one.

      • On the brief research I’ve done, “performance enhancing drugs” is considered to be anything from caffeine to meth to steroids to pain killers. Because of that broad definition, PED are not necessarily illegal. And even for anabolic steroids, you can get a prescription in the US just like medical marijuana…
        So I think the short answer is “it depends.”

      • Though, just to add, they usually don’t bust athletes if they actually have a prescription, and for steroids, a lot of the times they don’t. I doubt they really count caffeine.

      • Last comment I promise, but just to add to your research (from Wikipedia): The legal status of anabolic steroids varies from country to country: some have stricter controls on their use or prescription than others though in many countries they are not illegal. In the U.S., anabolic steroids are currently listed as Schedule III controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, which makes simply possessing of such substances without a prescription, first offense, a federal crime punishable by up to one year in prison. Unlawful distribution or possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids punishable as a first offense is punished by up to ten years in prison

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