By ANDREW HILLEBRAND, Staff Writer
Lance Armstrong could lose a lot of money after confessing that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The seven-time Tour de France winner will likely face a number of civil lawsuits and claims that could cost him millions of dollars.
Armstrong probably won’t face criminal charges, as the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports is not a crime in the United States. However, the biggest obstacle he will face is a whistleblower lawsuit involving former teammate Floyd Landis, which could cost Armstrong and other former teammates millions of dollars.
After Landis was stripped of his Tour de France trophy for doping, he claimed that Armstrong and other former teammates also used performance-enhancing drugs. Since the United States Postal Service sponsored the team and gave it $30 million, Landis filed a lawsuit claiming that Armstrong and the rest of the team should pay back its sponsor money to the government, and Landis himself is entitled to up to 30 percent of any damages awarded, as the “whistleblower.”
Landis’s accusations led to an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which led to the organization taking away all of Armstrong’s trophies. Even after losing his trophies, the cancer survivor has been outspoken in maintaining his innocence until his interview with Winfrey, which aired Thursday and Friday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In response to a former teammate’s wife signing a deposition saying that she had heard him admit to doctors that he had taken several performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong accused her of “bitterness, jealousy and hatred,” before claiming that she was obsessed with him. Armstrong also accused the award-winning CBS investigative news program 60 Minutes, which investigated Armstrong in a 2011 episode, of unethical reporting.
During his interview, Armstrong called himself “a bully” in the way he responded to critics. Now that he has admitted his guilt, he may face defamation lawsuits from such critics, in addition to the Landis lawsuit. Armstrong did say that he has apologized to some of those people who he “bullied.”
“It’s a major flaw,” he said. “A guy who wanted to control every outcome. To never forgive me, I understand that. I have started that process to speak to those people directly.”