Ten observations on the Lance Armstrong saga, which took on a new dimension once the Big O got involved and apparently got the defrocked 7-time Tour de France winner to tell the truth, or some of it, about his doping:
1. It would be a lot easier to have a milligram of forgiveness for Armstrong if he hadn’t been such a ruthless and relentless liar for so long.
2. One of my Twitter followers captured the hyperbole of the situation by asking, “Electric chair or lethal injection?” How about an abject apology to all those Armstrong maligned or threatened when they dared tell the truth or challenge him – Betsy and Frankie Andreu, Greg and Kathy LeMond, Emma O’Reilly, Christophe Bassons, Filippo Simeoni, David Walsh? Having to do that would kill Lance.
3. On the front page of Tuesday’s paper, the New York Post said Armstrong “secured his place among history’s most loathsome liars.”
4. On the subject of the L word: The 2005 L’Equipe headline – on the paper’s exclusive about Armstrong’s unofficial EPO positives from the 1999 Tour – has stood the test of time. The headline, ”Le Mensonge Armstrong” literally translates to, “The Armstrong Lie.” In a broader sense, it means “The Lie That Is Armstrong.”
5. All this lying probably doesn't get definitively uncovered if Sam Sparks, the federal district court judge in Armstrong’s hometown of Austin, Texas, hadn’t tossed the lawsuit in which the cyclist tried to prevent the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency from pursuing its drug case against him.
6. And it doesn’t happen without USADA head Travis Tygart having the guts and moral imperative to take on a man who had been one of sport’s biggest icons as well having as the good sense to turn a deaf ear to all the name-calling from Armstrong and his legal team.
7. As noted in Tuesday’s Tribune, Armstrong’s lifetime ban can be reduced to eight years under World Anti-Doping Code rules if he testifies under oath to USADA. Although this isn’t spelled out in the code, the ban can also be reduced further. The big caveat: Armstrong must tell USADA things it didn't already get from others’ testimony in the case.
8. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Armstrong might indict the past and present leaders of the International Cycling Union. Bringing down that house of cards, which had unreservedly supported him until last fall, would be some sort of perverse revenge – befitting Armstrong’s character and boundless ego.
9. Hard to escape the feeling all the anonymous sources feeding media reports are Lance’s handlers trying to manipulate the story as they always have. This time, as my colleague Christine Brennan pointed out Tuesday in USA Today, they and their client, whom she called “pathetic,” have lost control of the narrative.
10. One of Armstrong’s most outspoken defenders, writer Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights), flagellated himself and apologized to readers Monday in The Daily Beast for having penned an Aug. 17 Newsweek cover story titled, “I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong.” Wondering if Armstrong’s amanuensis, Sally Jenkins, will have a similar epiphany after writing in December why she still wasn't angry with him.
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