New Armstrong biopic sheds light on worst human ever
November 21, 2014 § 26 Comments
A new documentary about Lance Armstrong, following hard on the heels of the eye-popping biopics “Stop at Nothing,” “The Armstrong Lie,” and “Child Murderer at Dawn,” tells the never-before-told story of Armstrong’s connections to the mafia, the Yamaguchi-gumi, Barrio Azteca, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Chase Bank.
While known mostly as a thief of childhood dreams and Betsy, not to mention being a colossal asshole who can’t drink a beer and run a mile, this new movie, entitled “Lance: Spawn of Satan,” details Armstrong’s complicity in some of the worst crimes and human rights abuses in history. Snoopy O’Flummigan, an independent filmmaker from Lancaster, CA, took three entire weeks to produce this riveting expose.
“Most people think that Lance was just your typical Texas Delta Bravo with a tiny wanker,” said O’Flummigan. “Few people know that he was worse than Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Rick Perry combined.”
The movie shows that in addition to masterminding the assassination of John F. Kennedy a full eight years before he was born, Armstrong set up a prison gulag system in the Texas Panhandle where dissident cyclists and Betsy were interned and deprived of Facebag, the Twitter, and access to online bicycle chat forums.
“It’s common knowledge that Armstrong stole the childhood dreams of millions of young children, children who simply wanted a chance to get brain cancer in order to have Lance send them an ‘attaboy’ and a signed t-shirt, only to find out that their hero was stealing their dreams and selling them on eBay. But hardly anyone knows about his work at Abu Graib, his legal treatises that legitimized torture, and his behind-the-scenes manipulations that brought Citizens United and Hobby Lobby to fruition as Supreme Court decisions that helped turn the U.S. into a far-right oligarchy. And you remember the dick-pic that Brett Favre sent to his masseuse? Lance did that, too.”
Whereas most books and movies currently detailing the “biggest fraud in sporting history” tend to focus on Armstrong’s drug use and the scorched earth tactics he employed to take down his detractors, O’Flummigan found the story to be more nuanced. “Lots of people think cheating is bad, and it is. But you have to balance that against Armstrong’s use of sarin gas against unarmed civilians in Syria, his human experiments on twins, and the way he set up extra-territorial renditions as a way to keep people quiet. His invention and aggressive peddling of mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps, along with his lobbying to gut Sarbanes-Oxley and deregulate the banking industry are what single-handedly destroyed the world economy,” adds O’Flummigan. “He was a very bad boy.”
Leaders in the the Lance hating community have showered effusive praise on the biopic. “O’Flummigan has done what no filmmaker to date has dared,” said Tootsie Pookums, weekend cyclist and noted notary public. “He has proven that Lance was the gunman on the grassy knoll.”
When asked how Armstrong could have assassinated someone before he was alive, Pookums cited to the important work of John Stewart Bell and his proof of quantum entanglement theory. “Paired electrons exert an instantaneous effect on each other even when they are no longer paired,” said Pookums. “Lance’s electrons killed JFK after the fact.”
The Lance Jocksniffer Support Society, headed by a major cycling publication in Los Angeles, immediately condemned the documentary. “Lance didn’t do anything that Hitler didn’t do, and Betsy. Holding Lance to a higher standard than Hitler is unfair, and is making him a scapegoat. We demand that this trial-by-media immediately cease, and that he be allowed to shoot himself in a bunker 30 feet underground near the Reichstag in Berlin.”
The documentary will open in theaters throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 28.
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It’s a very nice sidewalk
November 4, 2014 § 10 Comments
I sat on the sidewalk, twisted up in the human pretzel that only comes when your quads, hamstrings, and calves all cramp at the same time. “Here, dude,” said Fireman. “Take these fuggin’ salt tablets and drink this water.”
I swallowed the tablets and drank. My legs knotted up even more, just as the wankers who had been shelled on the run-in to the finish of the 7th Mike Nosco Memorial ride whizzed by. They pointed and laughed, and they were right. Live by the attack, die by the attack.
The Nosco Ride is an amazing thing. Jack Nosco has taken the grief and loss of his brother’s death and transformed it into an event that today brought together almost 600 riders — on a Monday — to participate in a free, fully supported ride up and down the hills of the Santa Monica mountains. For participants who wanted to make a donation, and it seemed like almost everyone did, their contributions were heaped into a pile and given to two recipients suffering from life threatening diseases.
I don’t know how much money the event raised today, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that a host of sponsors joined in to make the event happen, and they all did it for no apparent financial benefit. They did it because it was a good thing to do.
Among the participants was Lance Armstrong. Road Bike Action magazine has long been one of his stalwart supporters, and as one of the major sponsors of the Nosco Ride they included him in the event. Many riders were excited to see him, and as near as I could tell he was just another rider, albeit one who rode up the dizzying pitch of Deer Creek at a blazing pace.
What was notable about his presence was its lack of significance. The ride was for the memory of Mike Nosco, and that’s what it was. With a killing pace out of the blocks, the brutal climb up Deer Creek, and follow-up punch-ups on Mullholland and Latigo, the 80 miles and 9,000 feet of climbing left everyone somewhat addled. At the end, the ride gave free, delicious Mexican food dinners — as much as you could eat — to the riders. Those who wanted to cap off their day with a beer could quaff free cans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo.
The terrible difficulty of the ride means that there’s no training or fitness reason to do it more than once. But the unique feel of people coming together for a cause makes it special, and the realization that Jack Nosco has taken profound loss and turned it into good is an example for everyone. It’s the kind of ride you can do over and over again, even though each time you swear that this time will be your last.
Part of the good vibe of this ride is that most people seem to know the story of Mike and his premature death. You can tell that among the riders and the volunteers almost everyone has suffered the same kind of loss, or something very close to it. The kind of monument that Jack has created to his brother, a monument of giving and of good, is the kind of thing we all wish we could do for those we love who have died, but somehow we can’t. Being able to participate and be part of this event, and to contribute to it in whatever small way, is its own kind of gift.
At the feed stops, at the registration table, and at every sponsor tent, whenever you thanked people for making this event happen they all said the same thing: “No, thank you for coming.”
Thanks for the gift, Mike and Jack.
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UCI blocks Armstrong participation in “Tots on Bikes” fundraiser
October 29, 2014 § 31 Comments
Brian Cookson, president of the UCI, announced today that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s planned participation in the annual “Tots on Bikes” fundraiser would not be permitted. “It’s quite simple,” said Cookson. “He cannot ride.”
When reached at his Austin villa, Armstrong was surprised at the ruling. “I wasn’t planning on riding,” he said. “We stand behind our kids and help them balance on a bicycle. It’s a father-and-kid event, not a bike race.”
Cycling in the South Bay reached Mr. Cookson while on holiday in front of the Berlin Reichstag, and spoke with him about Armstrong.
CitSB: Why can’t Lance go to this kiddie event? It seems pretty innocuous.
Cookson: Armstrong has been banned for life, and under the terms of his ban, he cannot do anything that relates to cycling. Nothing. This includes seemingly harmless activities such as standing in the aisle at Wal-Mart and shopping for a bicycle, much less actually coming into contact with young cyclists.
CitSB: It’s a bit of a stretch to call 3-year-old children “cyclists,” don’t you think?
BC: Not at all. These children are the grass roots. Simply being around them will send the message that the UCI tolerates drug cheats.
CitSB: What about all of the other drug cheats who still play prominent roles in the UCI, not to mention the coaching and management of the sport?
BC: Those drug cheats are different. They simply cheated. We must never forget that Lance stole the precious dreams of children, and Betsy.
CitSB: But how can the UCI block his participation in a private charity fundraiser?
BC: It’s quite simple, actually. The Tots on Bikes program receives its event insurance through USA Cycling, and therefore all anti-doping restrictions apply.
CitSB: So there’s going to be drug testing as well?
BC: Of course. You never know when a particularly sneaky infant will transfuse a few blood bags in order to win the “Proper Pedaler” ribbon.
CitSB: Is this really a wise use of the UCI’s resources? Hasn’t Lance suffered enough?
BC: Oh, not at all. We’re currently working on an agreement with the state of Texas, where he currently lives, to sell insurance to the state for one or two of its outdoor events. We believe that this will give us complete jurisdiction to control everything that Mr. Armstrong does for the rest of his life, including when and where he’s allowed to, you know, …
BC: I didn’t know if I could say that sort of thing in this publication.
BC: We must never forget that Lance stole all of those precious childhood dreams and Betsy. No punishment is severe enough, and we must remain eternally vigilant that he is not allowed to corrupt the morals of our youth again.
CitSB: Like the Iglinsky brothers, who just got caught doping on the watch of ol’ doper Vinokourov?
BC: Exactly. Never again.
CitSB: And Roman Kreuziger, and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke?
BC: Right-o. Never again after them.
CitSB: Do you ever see a time when the lifetime ban might be lifted.
BC: Oh, absolutely.
BC: After he’s dead. Possibly.
CitSB: Possibly? How can you continue to ban a dead person?
BC: It’s in the terms of the anti-doping agreement. We can prohibit his corpse from participating in any UCI-authorized event. But I do foresee a time, perhaps in ten thousand years or so, when the ban could be lifted, that’s assuming he comes clean with the Truth and Reconciliation and Dicking Off Committee.
CitSB: How can he come clean? He’ll be dead.
BC: I suppose he should have thought about that before stealing all of those precious childhood dreams.
CitSB: And Betsy.
BC: And Betsy.
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Good ‘ol Lance
July 23, 2013 § 55 Comments
Does anyone know Lance’s cell phone? ‘Cause we need him bad.
This Wiggins-Froome thing has gotten totally out of hand. One day we were watching a doped up superman who boinked models and actresses and rock stars, who owned ranches and mansions and private jets, who was devilishly good looking, whose ego was bigger than Dallas and twice as gnarly, who ground people up into hamburger meat on and off the bike, who beat cancer, cured cancer, sued enemies into oblivion, had an entourage of global financiers, Italian dope doctors, starlets, drug mules, presidents and scientists and who, with only one nut still had bigger balls than the entire pro peloton, and then, BAM!
We were watching Chris fucking Froome, a human insect who can’t even pedal properly, a craven little wussmeister whose doping program is “marginal gains” instead of “ram the whole 12,000 cc up my ass,” an awkward, unappetizing robot who confirms what every motorist instinctively knows: Cyclists are contemptible arthropods deserving nothing so much as the heel of a boot.
Sure, I used to bag on Dopestrong…until I saw the last two years of Dopeweak. What happened to the drug-crazed cannibals of yore, handsome, muttonchopped, steel-willed manly men who ate raw meat with their fists and swallowed their cocaine-heroin-strychnine cocktails in one-pint tumblers? How could we have banished the lying, cheating, brash and big-balled Texan who rode a chrome Harley, threw massive charity balls, charged 100k to jocksniffing millionaires for a group ride appearance, won triathlons, raced marathons, conquered Leadville, and ruled the entire UCI with the iron grip of a drug kingpin, which he was, and traded him in for the sniveling, milquetoast, dainty British softmen who drink tea, slurp warm beer, and race like simpering weenies or, what’s infinitely worse, like British people?
Where is the wrath, the insane bloodlust fueled by too many drugs in the wrong combination, the tortured beastly exhibitions of athletic porn, the Texas gunslinger who rode over the bones of his challengers and fell as mightily as he rose, in full color on a giant screen surrounded by a frothing media scrum and presided over by the queen of daytime TV? I’ll tell you where: He’s been replaced by “champions” who are no cleaner but a thousand times less entertaining to watch, the insect class, the automaton class, the zombies of the road.
Please, if you have his number, call Lance for me and beg him to either come back or to give these pasty-faced cab drivers a few lessons in how to race like the future of the galaxy depended on it. I’ll take les forcats de la route over the zombies of the road any day.
Lance 3.0: Lay down your cudgels, please
May 26, 2013 § 57 Comments
Newsflash: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of…pretty much everything.
Tour titles? Gone.
Income stream from his cancer foundation? Gone.
Ability to compete in sanctioned athletic events and the attendant income? Gone.
Mansion in Austin? Gone.
Self-respect after not getting hugged by Oprah? Totally gone.
Bonus newsflash: It’s not over yet. The Justice Department has joined Floyd’s whistleblower suit…former sponsors are suing to get their money back…he will be paying for his transgressions for a long, long time.
I don’t know about you…
But I believe in redemption. Not the Shawshank kind — I believe in the kind of redemption that says once you’ve been punished for your transgressions according to rule and/or law, you’re redeemed.
This type of redemption may not mean that you’re a sterling moral character, or even that you admit guilt or feel sorry for what you’ve done. It just means that you broke the rule, got punished, and are now free to move on just like new. Something worthless has been exchanged for something useful and new. Just like a coupon.
When you murder someone, rape someone, abuse a child, defraud the elderly, skim from the company till, or run a red light, your redemption begins when you’ve served your time or paid your fine. Redemption means trading in the old for the new. It means a fresh start.
And in case you were wondering, along with the punishment fitting the crime, redemption is the premise upon which our entire legal system is built.
Redemption gives convicted felons the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a passport, and the right to fully participate as citizens once they’ve served their time. Redemption doesn’t mean you have to like the sinner or the ex-con. It just means you can’t legally continue punishing and persecuting him.
Lance is no convicted felon. If you don’t think he’s been punished, see above. If you’re still harboring resentment and anger, that’s understandable. But he’s not going anywhere, and I’d suggest that there’s a better way to deal with him than continually bludgeoning him for his transgressions.
It’s an old concept, actually. It’s called forgiveness.
Cranking up the PR machine
Lance has recently begun doing what he does best: Going on the offensive. Whether it’s calling Patrick Brady and chatting with him for an hour or unblocking Lesli Cohen and a bunch of other diehard Lance opponents, it’s clear that he has a plan in place and has begun to execute it.
What’s the plan?
The plan is to get back in front of the sports media and build Lance 3.0. This newest iteration is simple. Lance 3.0 is a…
- Family man.
- World class athlete.
What will Lance 3.0 do? He will sell something. What will he sell? I don’t know. But I do know this: He won’t be setting up a pyramid scheme to defraud Medicare, or a criminal syndicate to assassinate journalists. Most likely, he’s got a plan that will let him earn a living as a speaker/athlete/patient advocate.
Is that so bad? How many other people get out of prison and see their mission in life as one dedicated to helping others? Mind you, I don’t know that that’s his plan, but what does he have left? And why is it contemptible for him to try and rebuild a career that’s been destroyed through his own mistakes?
Ultimately, though, does it really matter what his end game is? No.
What matters is you
A group of local riders were climbing Latigo Canyon Road yesterday, and guess who they met at the top? Barry Bonds.
He’s the guy who was held up as one of the most evil and crooked baseball players of all time, a guy who stole Hank Aaron’s record on the strength of drugs and lies. Today he’s a slim and fit bicycle rider.
When the gang ran into him on Latigo, no one cringed, or cursed him, or called him a scumbag doper. Instead, they mugged for the camera and posted photos on Facebook.
First, of course, is star power…and we are here in LA. Second, though, is the fact that Barry has paid for what he did, and he didn’t even go on Oprah and confess. We know that he was caught, that he’s been punished, and that now he’s just a dude on a bike who used to hit a lot of home runs. Our lives are too short to keep hating on a guy who’s been punished to the full extent that the system demanded, particularly since all he seems to do now is pedal around, show up at the occasional crit, and generally act like a normal dude.
We’re done with his crime, and so is he. Now we just want to say hello and ride our bikes.
What about Lance?
Lance is different from Barry because the latter earned hundreds of millions of dollars and wisely invested them over the course of a long career. Barry doesn’t have to work.
Lance has five kids, huge ongoing legal bills, and a lot of years left to live. It’s impossible that he’s got anywhere near the pile that Barry is sitting on, or even anything close to it. Unlike Barry, Lance has gotta work. Rather than pulling up the drawbridge and living inside the fort, Lance has got to get out and mingle in order to rebuild.
For people getting out of prison and living in halfway houses, it’s called “You have to get a job.”
Lance showed us that pro cycling is a corrupt freak show. Danilo di Luca confirmed yesterday that it still is. Nibali, Wiggins, Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome, Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, and USA Cycling reaffirm that anyone who thinks the sport is clean isn’t thinking very hard.
If you hate Lance because he “ruined the sport,” maybe it’s time YOU moved on. The pro sport is rotten. If you follow it and still bury your head in the jocks of its stars, there’s a problem all right, and the problem is with you. If you can watch Nibali repeatedly hit the gas in the snow at the end of the most grueling stage of the most grueling stage race while his competition is rolling over and dying on the slopes, you’re the one who needs to analyze my modification of this old saw: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over and over, and I’m a fucking moron who enjoys being fooled.”
As Billy Stone might put it, “And the dopers ruined your life as a Cat 4 masters athlete exactly how?”
Where’s it all going?
Now that Lance 1.0 and 2.0 have been airbrushed out of the history books, what’s wrong with giving 3.0 the same degree of redemption that should be afforded to axe murderers, tax cheats, misdemeanor DUI’s, and kids on grade probation in college? How is our agenda advanced by refusing to lay down arms, and instead insisting that he still be treated like the unrepentant, unpunished cheat that he was a year ago, when he’s repented and been punished?
Does it ennoble us to keep shrieking “Off with his head!” after his head has been offed, stuck on a pike, and paraded around his kids’ schoolyards? I think it does the opposite. It shows us up to be petty, vengeful dorks who actually think that pro cycling is so important it transcends common notions of justice and fair play.
Five years hence, ten years hence, Lance 3.0 will have been fully rebuilt. He’s that smart and a whole lot smarter, he’s that hard working, and he’s that motivated. He’s also got close to four million people on Twitter who want to know what he says and thinks, as well as five kids to feed, clothe, and put through college.
Most importantly, he’s not going anywhere. Do you want to be the wild-eyed crazy standing in the corner screaming, “But he doped! He cheated! He lied! He ruined my Cat 4 masters racing career!” long after he’s been punished and the rest of the world has moved on?
If the UCI and USA Cycling and WADA are done with his case, then I am, too. Keep clubbing at him if you want, but don’t expect me to join in. I’d rather go club some of the baby seals on next Tuesday’s NPR.
The dreaded Lance post
January 16, 2013 § 58 Comments
Folks, the only way to move on is to just move on.
The longer you stop and gape, the longer you will remain mired where you are, knee-deep in gore at the scene of the train wreck.
He’s larger than life.
He’s a caricature of a distortion.
And he holds you, still, in his thrall.
Because you let him.
So enjoy this last TV drama with your best buddies and your favorite pizza. Curse or yell or laugh or cry.
And then, just as you’ve let him occupy you…let him go.
Armstrong wins ATX flat stage; overall still in doubt
October 19, 2012 § 17 Comments
7-time Tour strippee Lance Armstrong stormed across the finish line in Austin, Texas tonight, showing flashes of the combativeness that made him the most feared competitor of his era, but doing little to dent the commanding lead taken in the previous mountain stage by USADA.
“The team was there for me when it mattered,” said an obviously knackered Armstrong. “And now…let’s have a helluva good time tonight!”
Surrounded by his teammates, most of whom have been at his side for each of his previously stripped Tour non-victories, the mood was defiant, even though the win in Austin took back only fifteen seconds from USADA’s overall advantage of more than ten minutes.
Teammate Gerry Goldstein, a criminal defense lawyer who has had his hands full of late, gave a blunt response to reporters after the stage who questioned how Goldstein could support someone whose charity was built on the back of history’s greatest sporting fraud. “I’m a big fan of what he has done. Overcoming cancer and doing what he did, who gives a fuck about anything else? That’s so much more important as a role model and a human being. Quit whining about it. This is the 21st Century. The ends justify the means.”
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who donated a pair of cleats to the silent auction, said he wants to continue supporting Livestrong. “Obviously, some things have a left a little scar, but people think it’s still important to come out and support Livestrong,” Guthrie said. “Charles Manson left scars too, but you know what? He’s helped a lot of people through his Minister for Life Prison Ministry.”
Experts question whether there are enough stages left for an Armstrong comeback
“They’ve only got two big mountain stages left,” said veteran race strategist Betsy Andreu. “The UCI stage into Aigle, and the Livestrong stage. He’s got strong teammates for the Aigle stage in McQuaid and Vergruggen, but USADA’s beefed up its mountain team this year with that 1,000-page dossier, eyewitness testimony, and the three new riders from Lausanne, Padua, and Montreal.” [Ed. note: Andreu was referring to the three new team USADA signings of Jean-Paul Cas, Benedetto Roberti, and Emilio Wada.]
USADA refused to say the race was over, pointing to Armstrong’s history as a 7-time strippee. “He’s the favorite. We’ve done our best. The hay’s in the barn, as G$ would say. All we can do from here is race smart and hope our team does what it’s been hired to do.”
Armstrong saw it differently. “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.”
When asked if this is the toughest race he’s ever ridden, Armstrong smiled wryly. “I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse. ‘Unaffected’ was probably not the best choice of words,” he added, referring to a tweet immediately after USADA attacked on the lower slopes of the Col d’Lifetimeban, which put the cycling star into difficulty without obvious recourse to his stalwart suitcase, which former teammates now claim contained something stronger than courage.
Livestrong stage could be pivotal
If Armstrong manages to regain time in Monday’s stage into Aigle, commentators believe that the race will boil down to the final mountaintop finish on Plateau d’ViveForte. “Even if he takes back five, six minutes, it will still be extremely difficult on the final stage,” says crisis management expert Bud Packington.
Adds Packington: “His key climbing allies have either crashed out or have gone home in the broom wagon for finishing outside the time limit. Nike, Trek, SRAM, Anheuser-Busch, all gone, and Oakley getting shelled with every acceleration. Who’s he got left? Robin Williams?”
Smedley Turkins, brand manager for Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and Charlie Hustle, concurred. “Read his statement when he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong: ‘To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.’
“What the fuck does that mean? It’s an admission that the controversy has affected Livestrong. Fine. What negative effects, and spare the foundation from what? The impact hasn’t been financial; donations have actually increased since he walked away from arbitration. It hasn’t been legal; no one’s suing Livestrong for fraud. Yet. What’s left? It’s the negative effect on the board from all the people who support and fund the organization who are saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We will not have the organization we cherish headed by a cheat.’ For now it’s a shrill voice, it’s a minority, and it’s only within the organization. But if he gets creamed at the stage going into Aigle, if McQuaid and Verbruggen crumple and fold, then that internal dissension will increase. He’ll risk going from chairman to board member to out the door. This was a prophylactic feint, and it’s a hint of things to come.”
It ain’t over ’til it’s over
“Don’t you believe it,” laughed George Hincapie when asked about Armstrong’s prospects for the remainder of the Tour. “He’s toughest when cornered. He’s got options galore.”
When pressed, Hincapie said this: “He’s going to confess. It won’t be a full confession, and it will be carefully worded by the leadout train. Herman will string it out in the last 3k, Fabiani will get him to the last kilometer, and Garvey or Ullman will deliver him to the final 200 meters. It will be a polished, nuanced admission that doesn’t even admit to much. You’ll see.”
Others were less sanguine. Joe Papp, CEO of Felons for Clean Sport, was tersely dismissive. “Never happen.”
Tardstick Ludington, loathesome Internet troll, was even more direct. “Wankmeister is a sociopath bully who lives in his parents’ basement,” he said in between electroshock treatments.
Before getting on the team bus, which was being pelted by angry Canadians who’d paid $35,000 apiece to be dropped and insulted by Armstrong on his annual “Jocksniffer Special” to Lake Louise, he evaluated his prospects thus: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Then he climbed aboard the bus, with not so much as a smidgeon of egg on his face.
The coming confession
October 17, 2012 § 186 Comments
Lance is getting ready to confess. He’ll make the announcement in the next few days, or he’ll wait until the UCI strips him of his titles and announce it then.
I’m predicting the former.
Armstrong is the ultimate in realpolitik. He showed his hand when he walked away from the arbitration hearing, betting correctly that there was no way he would beat the testimony of his closest confidantes.
Like an expert chess player losing pieces as strategically as possible to slow in the inexorable march to checkmate, Lance first lost the cycling world, then the triathlon and running worlds, then the sponsored spokesman world, and finally the queen on his chessboard, the chairmanship of Livestrong.
When Nike announced that Lance had misled them for over a decade, and that it believed he cheated to win, the game unofficially ended. Trek, HoneyStinger, Anheuser-Busch, Radio Shack all bravely reversed course after defending him to the bitter end. The only pawn left to mop up is Oakley. They’ll walk when he confesses or when the UCI strips or when they’re the last sponsor standing, whichever comes first.
The text of his confession
What’s most predictable is the text of his confession. He will admit to breaking the rules. He will admit to using performance enhancing drugs. He will apologize for having misled fans.
However, like Leipheimer and Hincapie, drug addicts whose entire careers were built on cheating, he will never admit that his actions were morally reprehensible. He will insist that he had no other choice. He will justify it with the oldest line of all: “If you weren’t there, you’ll never really understand it.”
He will never apologize for tearing down those who opposed him or who rightly tagged him as a drug cheat. He will never say he’s sorry for the damage he did to Emma O’Reilly, Betsy Andreu, Paul Kimmage, David Walsh, Greg Lemond, Tyler, Floyd, or any of the others he tarred as disgruntled liars, media hacks, serial perjurers, prostitutes, and worst of all, as ugly fat people.
There will absolutely be mention of his family, and of the difficulty he had in speaking about it with them. And there will be a brash, unrepentant sortie into the guns of his accusers with a bold statement about his real life’s work–curing cancer and helping those affected by it–and how nothing will ever stand in his way of fighting to achieve these things until his dying breath.
He will thank those who stood by him, without naming names due to their upcoming arbitration hearings and/or possibility of criminal proceedings in their home countries.
He will mention the doping culture in which he developed as a racer, without calling it a drug-crazed free-for-all that, at his apogee, he directed and ruthlessly managed for extraordinary personal and professional gain.
He will, if he’s the Lance of old, possibly issue a call to arms to clean up the sport once and for all, and name himself leader in the fight.
And if the captain’s Tecate is plentiful enough, he may even ask that those who so strenuously oppose doping take a hard look at all professional sports, and see if it’s any different from cycling.
He will reflect proudly on his victories.
He will make reference to the fact that without the drugs he would have won anyway.
And then he will tell everyone to get out of his way so that he can go fight some more cancer.
The end game
Lance’s dilemma is unique, because being branded a doper exposes him to significant litigation and because it chokes off the revenue from his nonathletic endeavors, which are vastly more important than his sporting income.
He knows all of this, and by now he’s simply reviewing the numbers. Mark Fabiani and Tim Herman have told him point-blank that it’s over, that no one who matters believes him anymore, and that soon, the people who matter least of all–the cancer patients, hobby triathletes, and Livestrong Kool-Aid freaks–won’t believe him, either.
“How much is my exposure to SCA?”
“Potentially ten million, without punitive damages. But there’s no guarantee you’ll lose at arbitration, and most importantly, that exposure is there whether you confess or not.”
“Payback to sponsors for breach of contract, fraud?”
“They won’t want the bad publicity of having blindly supported a drug cheat. Minimal risk, but, as with SCA, that exposure exists whether or not you confess.”
“Same. They’d have huge statute of limitations problems and would be open to equitable defenses like laches and unclean hands.”
“You’ll make less since you’re no longer the chairman. But you can still charge the foundation for appearances and the usual stuff. However, there’ll be less of it the longer you hold off on the confession. Nike’s statement that they’re dumping you but keeping Livestrong may be the way forward for a lot of people on the board, and you need to stop that before it starts. You do not want the organization to conclude that it doesn’t have to have Lance to thrive. The longer you deny, the more uncomfortable the foundation will become as people begin asking THE question: ‘What’s the board’s position on his drug use, and why is a career cheater sitting on the board?'”
“Bottom line: What’s my financial risk to confessing now versus confessing after the UCI strips me versus not confessing at all?”
“Confess now, earn a little goodwill, take the heat off your supporters who are having to defend you against popular opinion, facts, and common sense. Active damage control and repositioning can begin immediately. Levi and George are still getting love even within the cycling community and are being called ‘brave’ and ‘courageous.’ Confess after the UCI strips and you’ll look like a shotgun groom. Don’t confess at all and you’ll look like a sociopath. Your value will go to near-zero. You’ll be marginalized, then pushed off the board. And that last part may happen anyway.”
How can you be so sure, Wankmeister?
I’m sure because the only two alternatives don’t fit the facts or the history. The first alternative is that he will never admit the truth because he’s a sociopath in denial. This looks like a good fit at first until you understand that he’s trying to minimize damage. A sociopath such as Bruyneel or Ferrari would have fought the charges in arbitration.
The second alternative is that he’ll never confess because he’s principled. We saw how that played out when he copped to USADA’s claims by abandoning his right to arbitration.
Most importantly, doping in cycling at such an advanced level raises questions about other sports, and the involvement of Nike and the whispers regarding its having acted as the conduit to pay off the UCI’s cover-up of Lance’s positive test in the 1999 Tour mean that real journalists–the kind who rarely cover cycling–may take the same kind of vigorous approach to football, soccer, and track and field that Paul Kimmage took to Lance’s shenanigans.
In short, the most expedient thing for him to do is to stop the bleeding and reassure the world that this kind of stuff only happens in cycling.
And nowhere else.
You got that?
Armstrong tots expelled from preschool
September 8, 2012 § 16 Comments
After the Chicago Marathon today rejected the 2012 entry application of seven-time Tour de France champion strippee Lance Armstrong, the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, announced that preschoolers Olivia Marie Armstrong (2), and Maxwell Edward Armstrong (3) would be expelled from the church school, effective immediately.
Reverend Bollixy Snead, acting principal of the preschool, announced the institution’s unprecedented step at a press conference held on the steps of the state capitol building. “The Chicago Marathon, sanctioned by U.S.A. Track and Field, is obligated to abide by the anti-doping codes enforced by WADA, USADA, and NASA,” said Reverend Snead. “We felt that as a precautionary measure our church should follow suit. He appears to be a very dangerous man.”
Bewildered classmates speak to national media
Tubby Williams, a classmate and best friend of Maxwell, or “Max,” burst into tears when he heard that he would no longer be able to sit next to his best friend. “But he’s my best fwiend!” wailed Mr. Williams.
Georgina Pettigrew, one of Olivia’s colleagues in the Totties & Potties after-school toilet training class, was similarly distraught. “We was gived a peanut M&M if we poopied in the potty!” she complained. “I wike the gween ones!”
Doping issue polarizes preschooler parents
Disgraced dean of the UT School of Law Larry Sager, whose son Knuckles attends Good Shepherd, was incredulous. “Okay, so they boot him out of some marathon in a freezing Midwestern city that no one lives in unless they have to. I get that. But kicking the tykes out of preschool? It’s guilt by association. They haven’t even started doping yet.”
Mildred Bulges, another parent, sharply disagreed. “Lance Armstrong is a murderer. I read on a Twitter blog Facebook social media thingy that he’s killed more people than Idi Amin. And you know what’s worse? He ruined that poor woman Betsy Andeu’s whole life. Just ruined it.”
A brief scuffle broke out when another parent pointed out that Andreu’s life was ruined long before her battle with Armstrong, as evidenced by the fact that she was already married to a professional cyclist. Said Dave Snibblington, whose son Biffy enjoyed chocolate milk breaks with Maxwell, “That broad married a pro cyclist. How much more of a fucked up life could she have? Come on.”
Cycling journalists weigh in on controversy
Bill Strickland, former Armstrong fanboy and current nuanced reporter of the inimitable complexity of life and cheating, was reached at his ashram and pilates retreat. “Expelling the children?” he asked. “Very gray. Fifty shades of gray, at least.” A muffled fapping sound was heard while he spoke.
Rupert Guinness, former Armstrong fanboy-turned-critic-once-everyone-else-turned-critic, spoke to PVCycling from his local pub. “Who? What? Fuck, I don’t know. Who cares? What does everyone else say I should think?”
Samuel Abt, disinterred from the local cemetery, was momentarily confused when informed of Armstrong’s current status as Tour de France champion strippee. “Well, of course he fooled me, like he fooled everyone. Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
Longtime critics of Armstrong David Walsh and Paul Kimmage were reached as they worked their way through the seventy-fifth case of champagne since the USADA decision to strip Armstrong of everything, including his underwear. “‘E’s a murdrer!” roared Kimmage. “A fookin’ murdrer! E’s worse ‘n Stalin ‘n Hitler ‘n Pol Pot ‘n Victoria Principal all rolled into one bloody sausage! E’s killed our byootiful sport! Killed it! An’ his children an’ their children and their children ’til the bloody end of time should bear the mark, aye, the mark of the scarlet beastie cheater doper meanie!”
Walsh, although clearly supportive of the preschool’s decision, was more circumspect. “Clearly, his children are a danger to society simply by having his DNA, not to mention associating with him around the dinner table and such. As I’ve been telling people from day one, the man’s a cheat, but did they listen? Oh, no! ‘Walsh is a crank!’ they said. ‘Walsh is batty!’ they said. ‘Walsh doesn’t wear clean underwear!’ they said. Well, what are they saying now? Eh? Eh? Eh?”
Armstrong has until September 8 to appeal the expulsion. His legal team has indicated they are reviewing their options. According to spokesman Mark Fabiani, “Lance is a fighter. He fought cancer. He fought doping. He fought the Tour. He fought the French. He fought USADA. He knows he won those tours. His competitors know who won those tours. His teammates know who injected those blood bags. Lance’s children have never failed a test. Except that one ABC quiz they sprung on Max last week. And we got that anulled because he had a note from his mom.”