Okay, let me set this straight from the get: I’m not writing today through rose-colored glasses with the imagination that Lance Armstrong is an exceptionally great man. I’m not trying to justify his behavior or actions or even trying to be sympathetic. My intention is to give my input on what I think has become a sort of media circus.
In life, we all get wronged by someone at some point one way or the another. We have all been lied to, deceived, disrespected and perhaps even bullied in some way or some how. I’m also willing to bet at one point we have all lied, been deceitful, disrespected someone and perhaps even bullied another person. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s safe to say we all make mistakes. Sure, some are more severe than others, but my whole life I’ve been led to believe it’s a beautiful thing to learn from mistakes.
Image Credit: Oprah Winfrey Network
Back to Lance Armstrong. It seems that everyone in the world, on TV and twitter can’t stop bashing Lance Armstrong. Okay I get it. He doped and cheated and lied and deceived. For several years. He hurt an insurmountable amount of people who were friends, teammates and supporters.
So now Armstrong has reached out to Oprah to confess. In my opinion, it takes swallowing a big pill to be able to face the world and admit you’ve done horrible things and lied to everybody and their mothers about it. However, apparently for those who were wronged by him, the interview is not enough. Well folks, what would be enough? Is there a monetary amount that can make up for the hurt he caused you? Would you prefer a more blatant public apology, a detailed testimony under oath? In my experience, when you get hurt that bad nothing can make it right but time for healing.
Many people over various outlets have faulted Armstrong for the vagueness of his interview. Is it just me or, if someone is at the starting point of trying to make right as a result of his inexcusable actions and doesn’t speak about things because they may cause more hurt to someone, isn’t that a step in the right direction?
Another upsetting part of this whole charade are the people who celebrated and profited from Armstrong over the years. His teammates and sponsors that glorified his triumphs and wins, made millions upon millions of dollars because of his persona. The same people who for years have profited from Armstrong, then demanded he confess, have turned their backs and dismissed his revelation of truth.
I’m also still sitting here wondering how he is single-handedly responsible for all the blame when many others in the sport have doped, cheated and lied. Where is the outrage to hold them accountable? Pot, kettle, black?
And then there was Betsy Andreu’s appearance on Anderson Cooper 360 that really set me over the edge. After the interview she had this to say:
“He owed it to me. You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me and what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it?”
Uh, Betsy, were we watching the same interview? Not only did he own up to doping, cheating, lying, bullying and accepted the role as an overall villain in the sport of cycling, but he acknowledged what he did to you and your family as wrong. And I’m sorry, but who appointment you as the person that decides how many chances others have at telling the truth?
I get making an appearance to comment on the interview and give your input, but demanding an apology? Oh dear, I’m afraid no one owes anyone anything in this world. Have you gone this many years harboring that anger and waiting for an apology to make it better? Would you have felt just as wronged if this happened to you, your husband and family with someone who didn’t have the worldwide recognition such as Armstrong’s?
I’m not saying a Oprah interview makes everything better, I’m saying he admitted it and that’s a start. What Armstrong does or doesn’t do isn’t for any of us to judge or decide. Sure, he could have a hidden agenda for finally admitting to his wrong doings, but isn’t that really his prerogative?
As for the people who say it seems as though he has no regret, what good is regret? It doesn’t change things, it stiffens the ability to move forward.
He entertained us for year after year as a cancer survivor and athlete able to achieve the unthinkable. Armstrong was one of those mythical persons ESPN will do a modern-day version of a film documentary of in twenty years. His charitable contributions to fighting cancer and confession to Oprah doesn’t, and won’t, excuse his behavior, but he did the noble thing an told the truth. Albeit a few years and several hurt people later, but he did it.
At the end of the day it’s about forgiveness. You can forgive without forgetting. I won’t forget the actions that have brought Lance Armstrong to the point he’s confessing to Oprah. I won’t forget the string of summers huddled around a TV with my cousins rooting him on during the Tour de France or being proud to wear my yellow Livestrong bracelet when I first received it like it was the trophy of accessories. As a sports enthusiast and eternal optimist, I forgive him. And hopefully those who feel wronged by him can find peace and forgive him, too.