By: Scott Burks
Lance Armstrong was found guilty of doping by the USADA and subsequently strippped of his seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong decided not to fight the charge.
A lot of people asked why an athlete who fought against all odds – facing and overcoming testicular cancer that had metastasized to his brain and lungs – not fight the charge. To see what we thought was hard work following the intensive brain and testicular surgery, followed by brutal chemotherapy go to waste because Armstrong simply stopped fighting.
It’s easy for me to see why Armstrong did not fight for his name and his titles: it’s because he was guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and knew it.
Look, if I was falsely accused of something, my ass would be screaming from the rooftops. I’d be looking to sue the mother(lover) who made those accusations and the company who produced the piece of paper it was printed on. Simply put, I would never allow anyone to sully my name and reputation.
But after years of saying that he was the most drug-tested athlete in the world and challenging people who claimed he was a cheat, Armstrong curiously chose to walk away.
Maybe it’s because he was weary of having to defend himself? Maybe he just wanted to finally be at peace with himself by living off of his foundation and the earnings he had accumulated over the years? Maybe after years of denying PED use he was finally cleared of his conscience in not fighting the charges?
I’ll say this: none of that should impact what he has done in his fight for cancer with his foundation Livestrong. He and his foundation has been providing hope and inspiration for cancer patients for the last few years, and should be commended for doing so. As a dude who lost extended family members and childhood friends to cancer, I will always hold Armstrong in high regard because of that alone.
So forgive me for being conflicted as to how I should view Lance Armstrong. Should I see him for the lying-ass cheat that he is after years of denying any PED use? Or should I see him as a flawed athlete who used his cred to give cancer patients/survivors and their families hope in the fight against cancer?
My mind will be vacillating over that in the foreseeable future.