Lance Armstrong is not a martyr.
Knocking softballs from Oprah through the gaps in his stories isn’t enough. He built a legend on a lie and threatened to ruin the lives of anyone who dared to suggest he tell the truth. The good people at LIVESTRONG are left to try and distance themselves from the guy who would rather live wrong.
Ends do not justify the means. In real life, Robin Hood would be in jail on grand larceny charges. Bernie Madoff could’ve donated all of his ill-gotten profits to UNICEF (and although I would’ve been glad to not see Alyssa Milano beg me for 2 quarters at 3am) he’d still be one of the biggest crooks in American History.
The incredible ego of Lance Armstrong allowed him to actually believe that he was bigger and more important than the actual fight for cancer. How else can you explain a man shamelessly making himself the face of the most recognizable cancer-fighting charity in the world, knowing the consequences? I’m not sure whose performance was more artificially enhanced: Lance’s body or his ego.
An admission is not an apology. An admission is nothing without an acknowledgment of specific acts. Admitting you cheated on your wife but not to having sex is foolish (Hi, Bill!). Lance wants forgiveness without going through the process. What Lance is attempting to do is what we’ve all done as adolescents: sniffle, wipe our nose and mumble “sorry” in the hopes that we can bypass the guilt stage. Yep, he’s still cheating.
Truth always comes out.
Not only was Lance cheating and lying, he was a bully. An out of control rage-monster bent on covering up his own indiscretions as well as forcing others to join in for his own financial gain and growing popularity. If you refused, or later were tempered by your own guilt and/or tested positive, Lance was ready to pounce. He attacked in every way possible. From frivolous lawsuits to unforgiving assaults on character, Lance had to win.
Still, the worst part in all of this are the people with cancer fighting for their lives. The people who gained a little bit more strength by knowing one of them didn’t just survive, but thrived afterwards. LIVESTRONG will distance themselves from Lance. The donations will lighten until this blows over. They’ll hurt, but in the end they’ll move on. The cause is too great to be halted by one man.
What can’t be replaced, however, is the hope lost by the patients in hospitals nationwide. The hope they needed to continue their arduous fight. That’s the worst part in all of this. Man is a fragile being, capable of being as great as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or as evil as Adolf Hitler. Man is flawed. If this flaw began and ended with Lance, okay fine, we’ll deal. We’ll strip your titles and subject you to some public humiliation, then we’ll let it go.
But this. Cancer. The disease which directly effects nearly every human being on the planet? This, Lance, is unforgivable.
One can only deny for so long. One can only threaten but so many people. The cornered rat will tire. Each lashing out makes it harder and harder to cling to the tearing strands of lies braided together for years.
We don’t need a 2 night interview special in which you tell us what we already know. In which you scratch, claw, and stumble to find the right combination of words to preserve your ego. To justify your actions. To make this all about you, again.
No, Lance, what we really need right now is for you to just go away.