Lance Armstrong finally got around to confessing that he engaged in illegal doping. He admitted that he would not have won the Tour de France a record seven times if he had not doped. He acknowledged that he has been a bully. He demonstrated to the world that he is a liar.
I received an email from one of my readers yesterday. Months ago, the reader had responded to one of my earlier posts about Armstrong. The reader had expressed support for the cyclist and said he should not resign from the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG) board. This reader’s view was shared by 49 percent of those who responded to my survey.
In yesterday’s email message, the reader apologized to me for having been “incredibly naïve.” I want this reader, and everyone who was duped by this doper for so long, to know that you are not the one who has anything to apologize for. While I appreciate the gesture, I can find no fault in this reader’s desire to see good in a fellow human being. If Armstrong has made anyone more jaded and less trusting as a result of his lies, it’s just another of the many offenses he’s committed.
Unfortunately, it will take us more time to understand the complete fallout from Armstrong’s actions. Will his past connection to LIVESTRONG hurt the nonprofit moving forward? Will LIVESTRONG’s slow reaction time as events unfolded be held against the organization? Now that the world knows that Armstrong is a liar, will that erode the public’s trust in the charity he created?
Armstrong hurt cycling by cheating, LIVESTRONG by not stepping aside sooner, the public by eroding the trust we have in others. He also hurt his teammates, his sport, his family, and his friends. The interview with Oprah does not change any of that.
When Oprah asked if he had cheated, Armstrong responded defensively by saying that he had looked up the word “cheat” in the dictionary. He said the definition is “gaining an advantage on a rival or foe.” He said that, by that definition, he was not cheating because so many other top cyclists were also doping. He said that he was simply leveling the playing field.
Well, Armstrong was still breaking the rules of his sport. In addition, he may have broken the law in the process.
Just because others were also doing wrong doesn’t make Armstrong’s action right. When I was a child, my parents told me:
Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
What Armstrong did was wrong. His feeble attempt to justify his misdeeds is offensive. Being ethical is not always easy. But, it is always the right thing to do.
Interestingly, throughout the interview, Oprah gave Armstrong a number of opportunities to apologize to the public, He never did. Well, at least we finally know who Lance Armstrong really is.
If you haven’t already read my previous posts about Armstrong, you can find them here:
- “Should Lance Armstrong Resign from LIVESTRONG?“
- “Update: Lance Armstrong Resigns as Chairman of LIVESTRONG Foundation“
- “Update: Lance Armstrong Resigns from LIVESTRONG“
That’s what Michael says… What do you say?
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