Here is my TLDR take on the Lance thing.
Lance doped or Lance didn’t dope.
Everybody in that era doped.
Lance rode better and harder than anyone in that era who doped.
Some people got caught.
Some people did not get caught.
Some people who got caught came back and recommitted their lives to riding clean.
Some people came back and kept towing the old company line.
With me so far?
I loved watching Lance do his thing. It inspired me into riding. And riding help save my life. If he could overcome CANCER, then surely I could overcome my pathetic bullshit.
But after a while, things started bugging me. The way that my old excuses started showing up in his media releases. They way that everyone who he rode with tended to get busted after they parted ways. The way that everyone he rode against tended to get busted.
Then it was the repeated “Most heavily tested athlete” shit. I bought that for a long time.
But the one thing that really got me was how people would apologize for it. “Everybody in that era doped.”
I needed to look at two different statements and see how they worked together.
1. Do I believe Lance doped?
2. Everyone doped, so would that make it ok?
Then I threw in this modifier:
3. Does running a really solid charity make it ok?
Let’s look at one fact, one that I hope nobody will argue.
FACT: Lance is an asshole who will grind people down who go against him.
Lance is an asshole. And he is a Type A++ Asshole who fight harder than anyone most of us will ever see. He fights till the end.
He is willing to fight, sue and destroy people’s lives over his innocence. Are you still with me? It might not feel good to say it, but it is true. It is what Lance is/does.
If you can’t get behind this statement, Learn who Frankie and Betsy Andreu are, who Emma O’Reilly is and who Tyler Hamilton is. If you want to argue against Tyler, then you need to argue against Jonathan Vaughters, If you want to argue against Vaughters then you lose. Not my decision, just how it works.
Lets look at another one
Fact: The USADA is HIS anti-doping authority. By signing up for a cycling license, or hockey or baseball, you give implicit consent that the USADA is in charge of keeping YOUR sport clean. When you are on the world stage, the WADA takes care of that.
You know what? The USADA is MY anti-doping authority too! How cool is that?
Just because we need to get this out of the way: There are people screaming that this is political. That this is a witch-hunt. That they have a vendetta.
I agree that it is a political witch-hunt run by people with a vendetta. Does that justify not pursuing a case?
The USADA has the sworn testimony that the Feds took, that the feds said “Nope, we are going to bury this thing Friday evening before the Super Bowl and pass the testimony to you.”
These “unnamed” witnesses are not unknown. Anybody that follows the sport knows who they are. Lance and his team absolutely knows who they are. Lance knows that a couple are his best friends, people with integrity and people whose lives would be devastated if the testimony got out. People that he doped with. More of our heroes.
Think about every athlete that was robbed of the right to win or to even RACE clean because of the status quo that these guys kept up. You can say “it was the culture, everyone was doing it”, but for the athletes who were locked out because of peoples continued acceptance of that attitude, that nonsense it is a tragedy.
Look at how Jonathan Vaughters carried his career, look at how Lance did. Both doped, only one of the took a stand to make sure that the culture of doping became something that was not an option for the future riders. Look at the other riders who have gotten caught (or not gotten caught but confessed) and see how they decided to treat the sport they love.
Lance was trying to have his case heard by the UCI, which would be fine, except for one thing. Remember those drug tests? Out of all those hundreds he never failed, there are accusations that the UCI covered them up. In exchange for a LOT of money. Money that nobody remembers giving, or receiving, until the receipts came out. So we can’t exactly let the UCI take the case. The WADA says that the USADA has the go ahead.
Let’s remember that dogged determination that made Lance a champion? Think about that mindset and then remember that he has used that in exhausting every single possibility of delaying, obfuscating, bullying and discrediting every angle that he can.
Fight against the validity of the USADA, but the second he realizes that he is going to have to be in arbitration he gives up and let’s everything go? Because he is
tired of fighting?
But he has not been fighting. Like I just mentioned, he has been delaying, obfuscating, bullying and discrediting. Those things take work, and are not easy but you can’t exactly call them fighting. Fighting is where you open up your arms to the other guys and say “let me see what you have?”
Now that he has a chance to actually fight, to discredit evidence instead of people he runs off. Lance actually gave up on something? So close to the finish?
This is kinda crazy. I would have thought that Lance would have jumped at the idea to clear his good name.
See, he is afraid of discovery. He has been living under doubt for years and the one chance that he has for closure and to prove his innocence he says that he won’t go?
If you open up the suitcase, you can see what is inside.You can PROVE it. If you don’t open it up, but you throw it away, then you just have something someone told you about. Hearsay. Unfounded allegations.
Just like what lance has been being dogged with for years.
All of a sudden, you realize that the game of poker is over. Lance lost. His bluff was called. He folded. USADA takes the pot and nobody knows what the cards were.
Better to lose his wins on his own terms, than to have them taken from him? Really? How lame of an ending is THAT?
Are you still reading?
Here is where I get self-righteous:
How much bullshit must people let into their lives that it reaches the level that they say “Yeah, now THIS is some pretty good bullshit”.
Someone tells you a good lie and you keep building it up for years, basing it off this lie. You talk yourself into worshiping this person and once you realized that it is all built off a foundation of bullshit you simply say “Well, I have so much time and energy invested into his bullshit that I need to find other ways to justify it.”
Let me flip it this way: Then you start living with the mindset that since there are bullies on this playground, then the kids who play FAIR are worth LESS than the bullies, simply because the bullies exist?
Think about the message that sends to people about you. About the message it sends to your children. Don’t bother playing fair, especially if you think the ends justify the means.
That is gross. That is unattractive. I hope I would never raise my children to give up their self-respect that easily.
Do I want my sport to be dragged through the mud. Hell no.
But I want a sport that was set up so that the kids who enter it never have the option to dope. Never have to choose between riding at the top or riding at home.
I race and I bet at some point there will be an amateur that I race against that dopes. I don’t want to come in second and have apologists saying “it’s not fair to take away his win, it is a part of the culture he was raised on, he does good deeds in other ways”.
I understand doping. I understand why people do it. It is shameful and it is forgivable.
But I can’t understand the apologists. It is pathetic, gross and a trait I hope to raise my children to never succumb to.