Lance Armstrong: Resigning to Spend More Time With His Family?

“I am resigning in order to spend more time with my family.”

That is what we hear from politicians when they depart under a cloud. Lance Armstrong was scarcely more original, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Armstrong said in a statement. “For me, that time is now.”

Armstrong protests that he has never been found guilty of doping, which is true. He has also insisted that he would never dope because to do so would jeopardize his career.

Richard Nixon said, “I am not a crook.” Bill Clinton “did not have sex with that woman.” Ronald Reagan, speaking of Iran Contra, said, “Mistakes were made.”

The one line we always wait to hear is the line we never hear: “I didn’t do it.”

Instead, we’re left with: “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours,” Armstrong said, adding: “The toughest event in the world, where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that.”

True. And yet not enough.

13 replies
  1. PaprikaMktg
    PaprikaMktg says:

    I’d have so much more respect for Armstrong if he’d come out and said Yes, I doped, everyone doped.I’m sorry and I’m now committed to cleaning up the sport I love. But then, as he said, it wasn’t about the bike, it was always about Lance.

    • Charles H. Green
      Charles H. Green says:

      I agree. In some ways, “Yes I did it” is even more powerful than “I never did it.” First, it is believable on the face of it – who’s going to lie about that?

      Second, it reflects an acceptance of our humanity; which is less than perfect. To err is human. Never mind the rest.

      • Dave Brock
        Dave Brock says:

        Great post Charlie. This is probably not as simple or black and white an issue as it might be. Some of my thoughts:
        1. We will never know if he did or didn’t do it. He has actually stated “No I didn’t do it,” but I’m not sure that’s the key issue or that Lance is the key issue.
        2. I think it’s a tremendous oversight not to look at the “sport,” the sponsors, the industry, and the circumstances that athletes, coaches, and teams are put in. Bike racing is a money making venture. Athletes are held to continued, escalating and unreasonable expectations by sponsors. They take bigger and bigger risks to bring money into the sport and to the sponsors. Sponsors put performance expectations that may not be reasonable, may jeopardize the health and safety of the athlete, but produces big revenue dollars for the sponsors.
        3. Unfortunately, all sports are falling under the same pressures from commercialism, creating revenue, etc. Look at the Olympics, which in theory are intended to be pure athleticisms and competition — but it really ends up being about money and ROI. Look at college athletics and the pitiful example of Penn State, being driven more by revenue concerns then exposing unspeakable behaviors. There is example after example.
        4. Yes the athletes are at fault, they shouldn’t do these things. But it is too easy to blame the athletes and not look at the whole system that creates, drives, and reinforces the behaviors we are seeing. Declaring Lance guilty, saying “shame on him,” is just too simplistic.
        5. Lance’s case, while not excusing him, is even more difficult. We still don’t have an answer and we won’t. His choice not to pursue the issue was not an admission of guilt, yet all of us are jumping to that conclusion. He has been facing an individual who has for years had a singular mission to destroy Lance Armstrong. This individual has pursued Armstrong through a number of channels for years. He has failed in past channels and efforts, but in his zealotry, kept digging for more, kept finding new channels and would have continued to pursue hime had Lance not given up. Unfortunately, I think we may leap to conclusions, but I don’t think we are any closer to the truth.

        • Charles H. Green
          Charles H. Green says:

          Dave, thanks for weighing in. I know you’re knowledgeable about the cycling world, as well as being a voice of calm and reason.

          I’m curious if you find any parallels here with Pete Rose? While Rose can’t claim to have done the level of good deeds that Armstrong can, he was very well respected and well-liked. In his case, he explicitly and flatly denied having cheated, only to cop to it some 15 years later.

    • please
      please says:

      You’d rather he come out and admit to something he might not ever have done? It doesn’t sound like getting the truth is good enough for either the author or you. Good enough sounds like admiting guilt! Jesus.

      As you’ve said, these are not new allegations. Up till now he has submitted to tests and so far has come out clean. Yet, under the scrutiny that he’s under, he must submit over and over.

      There is an element of dignity here. To even try and compare him to the Lewinsky scandal is fallacious Green. Did Clinton ever proffer any evidence or go under review before making those claims?

      I can understand if there’s still doubt even at this point but this is not the definition of trust. Green, I am most certain if you respected yourself you would tolerate to a point a client asking more and more of you if it no longer became an issue of trust but of control.

      Personally at that point, I’d rather you believed I was guilty than tolerate that submition.

      • Charles H. Green
        Charles H. Green says:

        Has he ever said the words “I didn’t do it?” Not “I passed tests” or “no one proved me wrong,” but “I didn’t do it.”
        If I missed that, I’ll stand corrected. But in its absence, a half dozen of his buddies accusing him raises the standard of proof.

  2. Scot Herrick
    Scot Herrick says:

    The burden of proof is not on Lance Armstrong. It is on his accusers. It is not up to Lance to spill his guts for what he did or didn’t do; the international cycling agencies recognized his seven titles.

    While this is not a court of law, Lance HAS had those hundreds of tests, cooperated with all officials, and done so even after he retired from cycling. Those nice organizations have had YEARS to prove a claim, yet here we are. Nothing.

    In the day and age when a birth certificate from Hawaii does not constitute proof of citizenship (or, it doesn’t matter) and when conspiracy theories are rampant and never put out, I can believe Lance is feeling more than a little persecuted and wanting to tell the cycling world to go stick their accusations where the sun don’t shine.

    Not saying you didn’t do it does not constitute guilt. And submitting yourself to hundreds of blood and urine tests over the last decade plus doesn’t prove innocence.

    But no official has made a charge, much less proven anything for years and years and years.

    How much more hassle and dollars would it take to prove innocence when those nice cycling agencies have essentially tried to tie Lance to doping for the last decade?

    What conditions would it take to constitute guilt or innocence? Another year? Another ten years? Another million dollars? And if the outcome was no proof of doping, do you think those agencies would stop their pursuit of his guilt in the court of public opinion?

    Yeah, time to move on.

  3. Rich Sternhell
    Rich Sternhell says:

    Charlie, I agree with your critics on this one. There has been a clear crusade against Armstrong and he tried to get it out of what has long been perceived by athletes as a biased forum. He has said “I didn’t do it”, has passed every test he has been given and is now being asked to expend time, money and focus in a forum many don’t see as legitimate. Personally, I don’t blame him. The fact that his sponsors (and even the Tour de France) have not jumped ship on him has to count for something. Besides which, this is about bicycle racing…not running for public office.

      • Rich Sternhell
        Rich Sternhell says:

        Charlie, I have searched and can’t find it either. Fair enough. My general reaction stays the same, perhaps because I don’t care enough about sports or cycling in particular. Whether it was Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens,, the fuss seems overblown. Perhaps for those who consider athletes heroes, the issue is important, but to use comparisons of US Presidents’ actions seems over the top. While Armstrong lost his case in court on a jurisdictional issue, the judge was quite critical of the USADA for violating its own standards. Unfortunately, watching any campaign ads or listening to any convention speeches will provide more untruths in 30 seconds than the total of Armstrong’s testimony. And these are for people who want to lead us, not ride a bicycle.

        • Trusted Advisor
          Trusted Advisor says:


          I agree with all you’ve said here, and others too, about the social aspects of the Armstrong case. My point was quite a narrow one in some ways; you make very good points about the larger social perspective, thanks.

  4. Brad Farris
    Brad Farris says:

    In general I agree with the sentiment of the other commenters. I do think that Lance is genuine when he says, “I’m sick of this.”

    I think the reason you haven’t heard a flat denial from Lance is that, while he may not have ever taken PED, he may have done other things — that while not against the rules — may look bad in retrospect (blood transfusions during the tour, etc.)

    You are of course right that we would “trust” him more if he would tell the truth, and let it be.


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  1. […] am no schoolboy. I am in no way an Armstrong apologist. His statement wasn’t what most of us hoped to hear. And as impressed as I am with magnificent athletic feats, especially those involving endurance and […]

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