For today’s post, I want to depart from the normal news and political chatter we normally discuss and focus on something that I believe is travesty, both in America and across the world. For decades, Lance Armstrong has been the epitome of toughness and grit in the world of sports. He managed to beat cancer, no small feat there, and then came back to win the Tour de France seven years running. He was heralded as a superstar and he became a millionaire because of his victories and the resulting endorsements. All of this took place amidst accusations of doping.
As everyone is sure to know by know, Lance Armstrong has admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he has been guilty of doping for about 20 years. Never mind that he has denied it throughout his career, he’s admitting it now. It seems it is the worst-kept secret of the sports world, but the only people who seemed to care were the organizations that oversee the sport of cycling. The fans didn’t seem to mind and maybe that’s what kept Lance Armstrong going. Maybe he was doing it for the fans? Not a chance! He was really doing it for the money and fame and once he got a taste, he was addicted.
The most troubling part of this entire story is the attitude Lance Armstrong has about what he has done. Fox News has a portion of the interview on their website. I thought it was very telling in what it shared.
“At the time it did not feel wrong?” Winfrey asked.
“No,” Armstrong replied. “Scary.”
“Did you feel bad about it?” she pressed him.
“No,” he said. “Even scarier.”
“Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?”
“No,” Armstrong paused. “Scariest.”
“I went and looked up the definition of cheat,” he added a moment later. “And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”
You will have to forgive me if I sound a bit skeptical about Lance Armstrong and his admission of guilt. I have no insider knowledge of the affair, but I get the sense he is sorry he was found out, not sorry he cheated. Just a thought, but why is he confessing to Oprah Winfrey, instead of to the organizations he has lied to for 20 years? I wonder if he doesn’t still have a leg in this game and is trying to work it all to his advantage?
Why the title of this post, A Lesson In the Futility of Sports Royalty? I can’t tell you how many people I know who absolutely idolize the players of our most popular sports. When Adrian Peterson was playing for the Oklahoma Sooners, he was already being heralded as one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game of football. That heralding is even louder after his remarkable comeback after having his knee surgically repaired. I am not trying to take away from his ability or desire to win, but he is still just a man who is being paid millions of dollars to carry an oblong ball up and down a 100 yard field of grass or artificial turf. He is also the man who proclaimed NFL players should be likened to slaves.
Lance Armstrong is a perfect example of how futile it is to lift up a player of any sport. No matter what sport, or if they are a man or a woman, they are still human, just like you and I. Lance Armstrong is a man who cheated at the sport he was involved in. Nothing more and nothing less. Our society should recognize that and realize the mistake so many of us make by acting as if these players are royalty.
Hmmm, that sounds like some of the politicians we have in Washington. Maybe this should also be applied to them.