My daughter, Rachel, and I were watching the season finale of Suits last night when she read me a Tweet about Lance Armstrong dropping his fight against doping charges. Knowing the unreliability Tweets can have, I made her confirm with the NY Times website. What a disappointment.
Armstrong may not be the best-liked person in the world, but his Livestrong organization has done some good work. I still wear the yellow bracelet from Rachel’s bat mitzva, where Livestrong had been her charity of choice.
Armstrong had long maintained his innocence, despite numerous accusations that just never went away. It got a point where you though Jean Valjean was conducting the investigations and just could not let it go.
You rooted for Armstrong because a) what he had endured, health-wise, and b) because no one likes to see someone bullied, as it seemed he had been by the continuing chatter of PED use.
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven straight times, said that he would not continue to contest the charges levied against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which claimed that he doped and was one of the ringleaders of systematic doping on his Tour-winning teams.
He continued to deny ever doping, calling the antidoping agency’s case against him “an unconstitutional witch hunt” and saying the process it followed to deal with his matter was “one-sided and unfair.”
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Armstrong said in a statement. “For me, that time is now.”
Armstrong, who turns 41 next month, said he would not contest the charges because it had taken too much of a toll on his family and his work for his cancer foundation, saying he was “finished with this nonsense.”
Armstrong’s decision, according to the World Anti-Doping Code, means he will be stripped of his seven Tour titles, the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics and all other titles, awards and money he won from August 1998 forward.
It also means he will be barred for life from competing, coaching or having any official role with any Olympic sport or other sport that follows the World Anti-Doping Code. “It’s a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said. “It’s yet another heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”
Although I can empathize, I’m not sure what giving up the fight to clear his name accomplishes. Surely Armstrong doesn’t think this will all go away just because he no longer will play the “he said/they said” game.
Just one more nail in the coffin of trust between fans and their celebrity heroes.