The MLB, NFL, Olympic games and events and, of course now, professional cycling have been under scrutiny for years about the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) by its athletes. Lance Armstrong’s rumored confession on Monday to Oprah Winfrey, which will air Thursday, only further underscores the long-held suspicions by many sport fans.
But let’s be honest. Are we really that surprised? Given the enormous amount of evidence, in Lance Armstrong’s case, most of us had already come to believe that he was doping. We were just hoping that the allegations against him were false. Armstrong has alot of expaining to do and he’s already started to make amends. He’s apologized to the staff at Livestrong, an organization he started in 1997 to serve as an advocate for cancer patients and their families by offering free services to those needing, emotional and financial support. According to Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane:
“He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years…It was a very sincere and heartfelt expression of regret over any stress that they’ve suffered over the course of the last few years as a result of the media attention,” she said.
While it is never too late to make right a wrong, Armstrong leaves in his wake a long list of persons and organizations who suffered at the hands of his wrath if they even hinted that he had been taking PED’s. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the U.S. anti-doping organization, USADA called Armstrong’s activity the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” involving anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, blood transfusions and other doping.
What more needs to be said? We’ll see. Certainly his confession on the couch with Oprah Winfrey is strategic. The statute of limitations on perjury in one of his cases has lapsed, so even the timing of his confession seems calculated. Even still, the damage and effects of his confession will linger, and may more athletes will join him. Maybe.
World renown track and field star Marion Jones joined Oprah on the couch after her public confession and subsequent stint in prison, and many have followed. Andre Agassi, Stephen Alfred, Lyle Alzado, Barry Bonds, Jose Conseco, Roger Clemons, Brian Cushing, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodgiquez, Gary Sheffield– and more have admitted or been caught using PEDs or illegal drugs during their career.
So are there ANY ‘clean’ athletes in professional sports? Of course there are. However, the bigger the star the more the pressure mounts to perform, maintain, excel, and become faster, better, better, and better. Is it any wonder athletes are doping?
Of the professional sports, the MLB has the most aggressive and in-depth testing method. The NFL has the weakest and doesn’t seem to be as concerned with the use of PED’s which is not surprising considering the intense physicality of the sport, and the enormous amount of money it generates each season. Lance Armstrong’s confession only suspicions and rumors more like truth. It also makes us question the “greats” in sports. We start to wonder if it really is raw talent or if they’re getting some “help”. But, do fans really care? They only seem to care when it becomes scandalous. During the course of the game, the thrill, the action and the excitement prevail.
It will be interesting to hear what Lance Armstrong has to say to Oprah. It is easy to be angry with him, but I do have some compassion. The burden of lies is heavy and relentless. While he was living a free life from the fame of his sports success he was also trapped in his lies. Now, at least in the philosophical sense, he has been set free.
The truth will do that.
Your Jersey Girlfriend,