Archive for the ‘Human Interest’ Category

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“Doping”; “juicing,” these are some of the words that are referred to as someone whose been using steroids or any other sport enhancement drug considered illegal in the competing arena. As a survivor of a debilitating disease, one can only respect Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor. Unfortunately, between the past allegations of his doping and his January 2013 confession of doping, I have lost all respect for him. I don’t condone doping but it is prevalent within the sports industry. I recall years ago when a woman and I got into a debate about men, baseball and “doping.” It was a little crazy, as men gathered around to watch us argue our case about baseball and doping; as they claimed it unusual for women to debate the issue, but there we were debating a non-sensical thing. I told her that I believed baseball players were doping. There were a few signs that gave it away for me: one, the dense muscular built of some of the baseball players was unusually large compared to what baseball players used to look like, and second; the hitting distance and homerun records being broken. The woman at the bar was an avid lover of baseball and became extremely angry; stating emphatically that it was wrong for me to accuse baseball players of doping, because it was a pure sport. We vehemently disagreed with one another and the bar was split on who to side with in the debate. Months later, it was reported that some of the greats like Barry Bonds and Jose Conseco, among other great record breaking baseball players, had been call into question and admitted to “juicing.” The heated debate I had with the woman represents the passion people have about their sports and sport figures, so when I heard Lance Armstrong confess to Oprah, it was s sad day: he was a cancer survivor and a hero people gravitated towards; how could he do this to us all.

For years Armstrong denied doping. Finally, on January 13, 2013 the famous now infamous Lance Armstrong admitted that he did dope during his career, and he willingly withdrew from the sport. Frankly, with Armstrong’s status as a mentor and hero to people, I was hoping the accusations against him were fabricated but sadly, they weren’t. It was disappointing that he did not deny ANY of the accusations, and there were some pretty heavy accusations that involved coercion and threats to other team members and their career. I don’t condone his cheating but what changed my perspective on him were the threats he made to his team members and their career: if they didn’t follow his lead, they risked losing their seat on the U.S.P.S. team. Not only that, but there was the sinister doping scheme he and his handlers implemented as part of their training.

Today, the government which is representative of the American people has joined the whistle-blower lawsuit brought by former Armstrong teammate, Floyd Landis under the federal False Claim Act. Armstrong’s attorney claims that the government has not been wronged, and I disagree. The United States government is representative of the American people; the government paid Lance Armstrong $40 million dollars to sponsor him in 6 of the 7 Tour De France, those dollars did not come from the government body’s pocket but from the tax dollars Americans paid; we paid him. I believe that $40 million dollars is money that could be allocated to infrastructure, healthcare, education and other programs for the American people. Armstrong’s attorney states that “the government must prove not only that the Postal Service was defrauded, but that it was damaged somehow.” I understand that no one is perfect but Armstrong admitted, on national TV, that he did dope and defrauded the American people; he took money from the government knowing that he was cheating; he also defrauded the public by denying his guilt for years and defamed America by condoning his own behavior for years. He should pay something for taking the money.

I can’t imagine what he is going through; someone who was built up by the American people and now struggling to save a little of his dignity. The story of Lance Armstrong seems like a horrible and sinister novel with a sad ending. Sadly, Lance Armstrong is not the only person that has gone through being defamed. Americans are really good at building someone up and then tearing them down, but sadly, he did this to himself. This is a lesson for us all to learn: we must reflect on the decisions we make today so that we don’t regret tomorrow.

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