In the wake of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah, several news sites have posted the question “Do you forgive Lance Armstrong now that he has confessed?” In short, I don’t.
I will admit I didn’t watch the entire interview; it was long and I got frustrated with his demeanor early on. He appeared more calculated than sorry. To me it looked like he was acting and not truly sincere in his remorse for lying people about doping and attacking those who challenged him. But the question that kept bothering me the most was “Why is he doing this now?” In my opinion, his actions over the last ten years indicate there is likely a calculated reason. I don’t believe he suddenly had a change in conscience given his admission that he needs to control situations.
I am generally left with a feeling of being cheated and fooled. I am not a big cycling fan, but I definitely paid attention during his Tour wins. His story was one of such great triumph — a cancer survivor that went on to become the greatest endurance athlete of our time and an inspiration to so many. I like to see the good in most people, but am having a hard time finding the good in him. It all just feels so dirty and tainted. His legacy will be forever linked to the rapid and growing erosion of public trust in professional athletes.
How do I explain this to the boys and use this situation as a teaching moment? Sure there are many angles to take; cheaters will always get caught, treat others as you want to be treated, never use drugs. In my mind the most compelling one is actually a lesson in karma. What goes around usually comes back around – a potent injection of humility and disgrace.