Endorsement deals and sponsorships taken away. Championships and trophies stripped. Millions and millions of dollars vanished before his very eyes. Integrity and honesty thrown out the door. Sounds like Lance Armstrong had a rough week.
The man who epitomized the sport of cycling and the fight against cancer with his “Live Strong” campaign, has plunged himself into cheating disarray. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report detailing allegations of widespread doping use by Armstrong. They found “overwhelming” evidence. Even old teammates have come out of the woodwork and furthered the accusation, claiming that Armstrong himself would encourage them to engage in doping. Sigh.
Nike, Anheuser-Bushand and other companies have all ended their endorsement deals with Armstrong. Dealing with such humiliation and degradation, Armstrong was pretty much forced to step down as chairman of his “Live Strong” charity and cut ties with his cancer research campaign. All 7 of his Tour de France titles were just taken away. Lance Armstrong officially has nothing. So does this guy sound dunzo or what?
Lance Armstrong was caught and is paying the consequences. The sympathizers want to focus on the good he has done with cancer awareness and research. Live Strong is one of the most popular fund-raising campaigns that has made millions and millions of dollars for cancer research. However, the hardasses want to focus on the negative. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten,” said Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union. Well duh, we already knew that was going to happen. The bad news for Armstrong just continues to roll. Perhaps it is a bit too early to tell what will happen to Armstrong but there are plenty of athletes out there who have cheated and have lived to tell the tale.
The fact that doping is steroids completely shifts this discussion into the topic of cheating. Cheating. A word that will forever be present in Sports, a profession where performance means EVERYTHING. Cheating usually gets you the wins, the trophies, the accolades, the fame. But it seems that these “cheaters” in sports don’t seem to grasp the effects it has on their reputation. If a someone were to give you a magical drug to make you stronger, make you more agile, make you more competitive to play with the big boys, then let’s say you would. It’s just the repercussions you don’t think about, like getting caught. Is it the pressure? Is it insecurity? Is it drive? What is it that makes athletes want to cheat?
It seems that when popular athletes cheat, all the positives out weigh the negatives, because the positives can be just awesome…..winning them fame, fortune and what seems like a lifetime of security. But when those positives are no longer there, the cheating is out…..dayum does the negative become an endless abyss of SHIT. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with everyone.
In the sports world if you cheat and get away with it, then everything might end up ok. You might have some bumps in the road but if you come clean, then some (not all) is forgiven. Just look at Alex Rodriguez, he came clean with his steroids use and is still playing ball for one of the greatest franchises in the MLB. Who knows if he is still using (yea, probably), granted he is coming off one of his best seasons being benched and humiliated, but he seems to still be respectable baseball player. He still has all the fame, the girls (supposedly), the money, and that oil painting portrait of himself as a Fantasia Centaur hanging up in his bedroom. What a life.
Marion Jones, Olympic Track and Field Gold Medalist, was caught doing steroids during the games, lied about it and eventually had her medals taken away after her legal admission of perjury . She served some time in jail and now plays for the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. She has a daughter and loving hubbie. Could be a bit domestic for her but at least she is happy and doesn’t seem to be slowing down in the sporting world. I am sure Jones feels a bit more guilt than A-rod over there in NYC because she WAS an Olympic gold Medalist, an athlete who represented our country and made all Americans feel proud for one summer. Being an Olympic athlete is such a significant responsibility because you are representing an entire COUNTRY, not a city or state. You are competing with the WORLD. Getting a gold medal taken away can’t be easy. A-rod will be hanging back in New York this summer, counting his millions while his centaur painting collects dust. Barf.
There is one name I have to mention if we are talking about cheating in sports: Tiger Woods. Even though he didn’t exactly “cheat” in his sport, he is in fact a cheater in life. He cheated on his hot mamacita wife with not 1 woman, but hundreds…..more or less prostitutes and porn stars. Not to single out Tiger because I am no dumb ass, there are hundreds of male (and female) athletes who cheat on their significant others but come on…..hundreds? Tiger just got caught and has been forever shamed. But look…..he came out, admitted it, lost some sponsors…..but he is still playing on the PGA. He is still playing the game he loves, making money, probably not seeing his family, but is still living the athlete dream.
I know this type of marital cheating is completely different from cheating with performance enhancing drugs but it is still lying, an act that is detrimental to one’s character and personal dignity. (Remember, Lance left his wife and kids because he was “cheating” on her with pop superstar Sheryl Crow……hmmmmm fame and fortune getting to his head too fast…? once a cheater always……a what….?) And isn’t that what it really comes down to, character? Yes, take away what someone earns because they didn’t earn it in an honest and ethical fashion, but you without pride and integrity, you are left with nothing. Nothing to show for, nothing to live for. Popular athletes can get past this and start to live again because of the comfortable situations they are left in. They have the money, the fame and the family, all the support they will need to get through the difficult times, get over their cheating scandals and start to live again. Our society forgives those cheaters because in the end we just want to be entertained and amazed by their amazing athletic prowess.
Lance Armstrong will get through this and move on, just not on a bike.