By JASON SINGER, Guest Columnist
Picture this: a quaint family at the dinner table in a multi million dollar home. Five young children sit around chatting about their day, prompted by questions from their father – a man who, for many years, was a symbol of hope for those suffering with cancer; an icon of light and perseverance. The epitome of a man who could do anything.
But there is a naked elephant in the room that no one is willing to talk about in the Armstrong family. An elephant whose bare skin was exposed because seven Tour de France jerseys were taken away leaving the elephant to cower and shiver in shame.
The International Cycling Union stripped Armstrong of his seven titles won between 1999 and 2005. His fame was largely in part to his fight and survival of testicular cancer. He all but gave up in defending himself against the accusations, though to this day it seems he claims innocence.
However, with the $12 million he won from those tournaments that is potentially in jeopardy of being reclaimed by the UCI, I’d be fighting and hiring the best attorneys twelve million could buy.
I’ll be honest. I know absolutely nothing about sports, nor do I care. I stopped caring since the Pistons traded all of their good players. Red Wings lockout? Superbowl bets? Frankly, there are bigger issues in the world.
“I am … truly humbled by your support,” Lance Armstrong, who I’ve taken to calling Steroid McGee, told supporters at an annual LiveStrong event in Texas. “It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.”
Nothing steroids and a love song written by his ex, Sheryl Crow, can’t fix.
His claim to fame was founded on his battle with cancer and how he rose from the chemo-ridden ashes. But who couldn’t win seven Tour de France tournaments with the help of the yummy vitamin supplements known as steroids?
What I find even more interesting is how swarms of fans and supporters still stand Strong behind Lance. It calls into question how our society holds individuals in sports to a different ethical and moral standard than other individuals.
Like, when Michael Vick decided to dwell in the gentle pastime of having dogs rip each other’s throats out for money. After he returned to football his fans acted as if nothing happened. The same can be said for Lance Armstrong.
Yes, in the past years he has done a tremendous amount of honorable work in an effort to help individuals and families battling struggles with cancer and campaigning for people to live more health conscious lives. But, although he has done tremendous good, that good was founded on a lie.
I wonder what his children will think in years to come. Will he pull the ‘Do as I say, not do as I do’ card? Will he say to never lie? Let’s just hope he doesn’t teach by example.
At the end of the day Lance fell off his horse – or in this case, his bike. His endorsement deals are dropping faster than the U.S. employment rate. Hey, on the bright side there will always be fans out there to give him a hug if he is having a bad day. So he better do some arm stretches because he is going to be getting quite the overload of human’s most utilized self-esteem booster.
Call me a believer. Call me an optimist. But I think if Lance Armstrong can get through cancer, getting his image obliterated should be a bike ride in the park.