Lately, it seems like there has been two big issues in the news: the presidential election, which is expected to covered around this time, and the Lance Armstrong doping incident. On Oct. 10, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released the ‘Reasoned Decision’ in the Armstrong case, as well as over 1000 pages in supporting material. Ever since, the case has been on the news and people have taken positions on it.
Even Armstrong’s sponsors have taken their positions. Anheuser-Busch, Oakley, and Nike all decided to drop Armstrong, but they said they will support his foundation or plan to do so. In Oakley’s press release, they said, “We believe the LIVESTRONG Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals.” Nike’s press release was similar, saying, “Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”
It’s nice to see that even though the companies are no longer with Armstrong, they still plan to support this cause. The Livestrong Foundation recently wrapped up its 15-year celebration. It seems rather interesting that the USADA released the supporting information and the ‘Reasoned Decision’ only eight days before the 15 year anniversary started. This is an investigation that dates back to the 90s; I think it could have waited a few more days before they released the information. Now, I don’t know if the release of this information hurt the charity or not, but I feel that it definitely could have. This is a charity that really seems like it has done a lot of good for cancer patients and shouldn’t have to suffer because of its founder’s mistakes.
I don’t think that Armstrong is a bad guy; he just made some mistakes. People in the spotlight,such as singers, movie stars, and athletes are expected to be perfect, but they are humans just like us, and they tend to make mistakes. When these stars make mistakes, people tend to stop looking up to them, depending on how big the mistake is.
Armstrong made a pretty big mistake, which cost him sponsors as well as his seven Tour de France titles and the chairmanship of his charity, but he is still an inspiration. He had less than a 50-50 chance of recovering, according to his website, but he fought and went through an “aggressive form of chemotherapy,” and was able to win. He started Livestrong to help others in their battle with cancer and has also worked to motivate them.
There is little doubt in my mind that Armstrong doped, considering the USADA was able to compile over 1000 pages worth of information and decisions as well as get 26 people to testify, “including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities,” 11 of which were former teammates of Armstrong, according to the USADA’s statement. I don’t believe they would be able to do that with someone who is innocent, but even though he is likely guilty, people shouldn’t only focus on the bad things he did. Before they decided to take their position on Armstrong or talk about him, they need to consider both the good and bad things he has done.
To see the information compiled by the USADA go to http://cyclinginvestigation.usada.org/ and click on the third tab labeled appendices and supporting materials.