Monday, January 21, 2013

Enough with Lance Armstrong

Before his stunning confession on Oprah's show, yours truly steadfastly refused to jump on the bandwagon so many others had in assuming Lance Armstrong had "doped" during his 7 Tour de France wins. For the record, I never claimed he DIDN'T do it, but merely it had yet to be proven that he DID. I didn't know either way and therefore remained neutral.

While various federal and international "agencies" offered up arrays of allegations, reports, and "evidence" claiming Armstrong was guilty, none of that had passed what I've always considered to be the standard for determining guilt in such matters -- that being all such evidence and testimony being fully examined and cross-examined in a court of law. Let it all hang out, both sides have their say, and at the end of the day, a jury of (hopefully) neutral people get to make the final call. That's the way it's supposed to work. To me, all the hype and speculation was nothing more than arm-chair prosecuting.

Well, that still never happened, but given Armstrong's confession, it ceases to matter. He did it, and then he lied about it for years to a lot of people.

Yet to some, that's not enough. They want Armstrong to go under oath and repeat his confession. They say he wasn't contrite enough, or didn't show sufficient remorse. They want more.

First, the only possible reason yours truly can think of that the authorities would want Armstrong to repeat his confession under oath would be so they could find a way to prosecute him. If so, why, pray tell, would Armstrong want to put that gun to his head? If not, then what's the point in sworn testimony? It becomes nothing more than redundant. As for contrition and remorse, what do they expect out of the guy? Would Armstrong breaking down into a sobbing mass of tears satisfy them? Should it make a difference?

Let's look at the penalties he's already paid and those that are likely in his future. He was stripped of his 7 Tour titles. Well, OK, that's a "paper" penalty, a slap on the wrist. His approval rating has dropped from that of a hero to likely about the level of Congress. Still no tangible punishment, you say?

Armstrong has likely lost just about all future sources of income. That's real, and that hurts. It's also likely he'll never be "reinstated" as eligible to compete in any sanctioned competition. Though he's too old to compete at the top levels like the Tour anymore, there are other things he may have wanted to do (triathlons have been mentioned), but never will be allowed to. In effect, he's been handed a lifetime ban, ala Pete Rose, only worse. His seems to extend to sports he's never even competed in before. But cycling was his true passion. Consider an analogy. A top pro bowler gets kicked off the PBA tour for misdeeds of some sort. Besides being stripped of his titles, he can't even bowl in a Friday night beer league with his buddies, forever, because he's no longer "sanctioned". How much would that hurt someone who's lifelong passion had been bowling? Probably a lot.

By his confession, a TV legal "analyst" has surmised Armstrong might have also opened himself up to various civil litigation. Remember all those sponsors that once showered him with millions? Some of them are going to want it back, he said. That could very well boil down to the terms of each individual contract. If it was specifically spelled out in the fine print that such sponsorship was contingent on Armstrong never "cheating", then Lance could find himself in a very expensive legal bind. Such a company could claim fraud, and sometimes such plaintiffs are rewarded triple the original damages. In other words, if a company gave Armstrong $25 million over the years, they might be able to turn around and sock him for $75 million in a judgment. That $100 million Armstrong is reportedly worth could go bye-bye, and then some, in a hurry. It's theoretically possible Armstrong could go from a very rich man to bankruptcy in the next few years. Whether that ever comes to pass remains to be seen, but it would certainly be tangible punishment.

He's been forced out of Livestrong, the very foundation he himself established to help cancer victims and promote research. No one can seriously doubt Livestrong is a very benevolent organization that has already helped many who otherwise would have received no such assistance. Now he can't even be a part of that.

It's probably also a fairly safe assumption to say we won't be seeing Lance on Dancing With the Stars or American Idol anytime soon either.

In my opinion, Armstrong has already been punished and will continue to be, likely for the rest of his life.

But no, the dead-horse beaters want to get in a few more lashes and, while they're at it, waste a few more million tax-payer dollars to accomplish -- exactly what? Just what is it that will satisfy their blood lust? Jail time? Exile to some barren remote island? A public hanging?

Armstrong was wrong for what he did. He's admitted it and he'll likely spend the rest of his life trying to atone for it in various ways.

However, something seems out of kilter here...... Armstrong may or may not be a lot of things, but he's no fool. He also certainly has a top-flight legal team of his own, and it would only seem logical they wouldn't have allowed that confession to take place if it would expose their client to potential ruin. Somehow, they must think they already have those bases covered. Beats me. I'm not a lawyer, but it makes sense.  

Regardless -- to me, that's enough of the blame game. Time to let it go and move on. This country has much more pressing issues to be concerned with than what some cyclist did on another continent several years ago. This isn't exactly Jack the Ripper we're talking about here.....

1 comment:

  1. Okay, well,I too, have heard enough of the Lance Armstrong saga. For the last time, let's analyze this. First, as far as I can tell, Armstrong was guilty of "doping" as far as the regulations of the sport but not of committing a crime. His crime was lying about it under oath which we can cover later. Therefore all the money spent by The "doping" agency accomplished getting Armstrong banned from the sport, and they can NOT find him guilty of breaking any laws. The perjury issue has since expired under the statue of limitations, therefore he was now safe to talk as that was his only criminal offense. Now, as far as any monetary issues, to get a judgment would be virtually impossible. First, his sponsors while he was cycling, even if it was written is his contract, about "doping" would only have had recourse during the contract period. They benefited substantially during the sponsor period, and certainly would not have any losses to recoup at this time. Second, the companies that he represented when the investigation began certainly would not have had anything in their agreement in regards to something that may have occurred years earlier, they would have the option to withdraw the contract for any current misconduct, and they is what they did. Did they incur financial losses, maybe. They would have been limited to maybe the cost of products printed with Armstrong's name on them. Again, is it worth a lawsuit. Hardly.
    And proof of loss in a contract like that is virtually impossible to prove. So, what did Armstrong have to gain, Millions paid to him by Winfrey to do the interview, and why not he virtually had nothing to lose. And why did Winfrey do it, because she had millions of viewers tuned into her channel so she could plug all of her up coming shows and events. Several million in advertising on other channels would not have reached nearly as many
    viewers. It was a win win situation for Winfrey and Armstrong.
    Now the only thing left to think about, is why in the world is the United States Postal Service sponsoring any kind of Sports. After all this is a nearly bankrupt organization, with nothing to gain from a sponsorship. Really, are you going to run to the post office to mail an extra letter because you saw their logo on Armstrong's gear.
    I am in no way insinuating that Armstrong was anything less then a ruthless out of control sports fanatic with an ego as big as Texas. He destroyed people financially and professionally. But Karma is a "b**ch, and sooner or later he will get his. The slap on the hand he has received is not enough.

    The Princess