Lance’s Statement? Not Buying It.

Nkwa Asonye
Executive Director

With Lance Armstrong’s white flag of surrender coming late Thursday night against what his statement called US Anti-Doping Agency’s “unconstitutional witch hunt”, the world of sports as we knew it is officially dead.

Gone are the days of human bodies doing supernatural things and the public soaking them in with blind, jubilant amazement. That amazement has now turned into a combination of wonder and sneering skepticism.

Some may argue that the perceived invincibility of athletes died around 2005 when Congress called past heroes Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro to the Hill to account for use of performance-enhancing drugs. Consider this, though: Armstrong was the last relevant retired athlete contending innocence of using them. Yet now through his statement he essentially says, “Forget this system; say what you want about me because I’m getting a raw deal anyway. I know I’m a winner and so do you.”

Come on, Lance…I’m young, not stupid.

I understand that the USADA is significantly overreaching its bounds especially since all other international cycling bodies have steered clear of the issue entirely. But when the federal government took Roger Clemens to court for perjury charges, he beat them. Mind you, it took FOUR YEARS. Yet a seven-time Tour de France champ fighting for his legacy couldn’t stand a two-month fight?

The only reason for dropping the fight that makes sense is that he’s only trying to protect himself from any more damning information being released. You’d never quit a competitive game, so if there’s a chance to win and put this thing to rest why not go for it? For Armstrong, there’s no point in justifying his retreat unless he feels he’s protecting something. What exactly he’s protecting, I have no idea. What he’s paying, however, is an extremely high cost.

Understand this: the man defined an international sport for over a decade. When he recovered from late-stage cancer to set the Tour’s win record, his star power skyrocketed even more. Even fans who knew nothing about him would flip to Versus just to watch him race before flipping back to SportsCenter…only to see his highlights minutes later.

But he’s willing to let it all go. He can live with being banned from the sport for life and putting “an end to this pointless distraction.” What’s pointless about the nation’s Olympic drug tester contending that you cheated during your whole career? In this day and age, using the word “steroids” to talk about an athlete is like pulling a fire alarm in a crowded mall. “Cheater” is even worse.

I guess the fight isn’t worth it. “Enough is enough.”

Lance Armstrong is not the tragic hero he wants you to believe he is. He would just rather commit legacy suicide than let the USADA pull the trigger. For his sake, I hope it’s worth it.

Posted on August 24, 2012, in Nkwa Asonye, Opinions, The Pros and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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