I had decided I wasn’t going to write about the Lance Armstrong/USADA battle, as I’m decidedly biased. As I’ve written in the past, here and here, I’ve always been on Lance’s side. I was saddened when he gave up the USADA fight a few weeks ago, and had kinda decided that was my last post on the topic.
But, after this morning’s news of Lance resigning from the LIVESTRONG board and the severing of his contract by Nike I felt I needed to post something if only for people to have an opportunity to tell me I’m an idiot (well, specifically an idiot for my view on this as opposed to the general view that I’m dumber than a box of rocks).
I can’t really figure out who won today. I’ve read the 200 pages of the report and George Hincapie’s comments are pretty sobering, if only for the standing that George has in the racing community. I think there’s a ton of conjecture in the report and it’s short on facts in a bunch of places.
But, in the end I’m just not sure what the point was. He hasn’t raced in roughly 3 years. He became immensely popular through his victories. Of all the sports celebrities I’ve seen, I’ve never seen one who seized the bully pulpit the way Lance did for a singular cause, curing cancer. His foundation raised half a BILLION dollars (yes, with a B) to fight cancer. He didn’t shoot anyone, didn’t impregnate a bunch of women out of wedlock, didn’t crash his car into something or someone while drunk. All he did was start a massive effort to stamp out cancer. And now, it may be damaged by these recent actions by USADA. Some will say it’s his fault. And, to preemptively answer that, I’d say to what end?
Has it changed something for the better? Show me what. Riders were expelled from the Tour for doping this year, like pretty much every year. Is this relentless pursuit of one man worth the damage it may do to the fundraising juggernaut of LIVESTRONG and the millions of people they positively affect?
I just don’t see it.