By Daniel I. Dorfman–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Every so often an athlete comes along that you just wish would go away and never be heard from again. If Lance Armstrong does not belong in that category at this point, I don’t know who does.
For years now, Armstrong’s statements that he won seven Tour de Frances without the use of performance enhancing drugs had as much credibility as anything Congressman Anthony Weiner says today. There have been unending stories puncturing hole after hole in Armstrong’s claim that he won cycling’s most famous race fair and square. This after being put on a pedestal for overcoming cancer and raising millions for cancer research and inspiring so many. He has fallen so far that he is now placed in the same sentences as Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, even though, in his case, he has not been convicted of anything to this point. But the court of public opinion waits for no one, and Armstrong was found guilty there a long time ago.
But Armstrong seems intent on making things worse for himself. Last weekend, according to reports, he confronted fellow cyclist Tyler Hamilton in Aspen. Hamilton was Armstrong’s teammate who told “60 Minutes” in May that he saw Armstrong inject EPO, a drug that boosts red cell production. Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France in 2006, have both admitted to using drugs themselves, and at the same time as pointing the finger at Armstrong. They may not pass character tests, but is it hard not to believe them at this point?
The FBI is attempting to get tapes of whatever happened in Aspen with Hamilton’s attorney telling the Associated Press, “It was aggressive and intimidating and we thought it should be reported to federal investigators.” An Armstrong friend said he believes the tapes of the incident will show it was no big deal. In other words, he is saying, “Play the tapes.” Well any time the same defense strategy that Rod Blagojevich is used, that hardly draws hope.
Moreover, that Armstrong didn’t have the common sense to stay clear of Hamilton is really puzzling. What could he have been accomplished by talking to him even in the most non-belligerent way? That Hamilton was going to back down and say he made the whole story up? Three words: yeah, right and sure.
Meanwhile cycling’s dirty laundry continues to air in advance of next month’s Tour de France, with the entire sport now being investigated by a federal grand jury. Hamilton testified in front of that grand jury and it seems inevitable there will be further criminal action taken at some point, but who knows when that will happen. The Barry Bonds saga took years to evolve and the same is true with Roger Clemens. So we are going to be treated to more inevitable stories about Armstrong for quite some time with no finality in sight.
It would be nice if he just admitted what seems so obvious and move on, but that is not going to happen. This process has come too far at this point. So Armstrong will continue to protest his innocence and point out that he has never publicly failed a drug test. He went so far as to put up a website challenging the “60 Minutes story,” but has since taken it down.
Because of the noble things Armstrong tried to do, there seems to be more sadness connected to this situation than others. But it is hard to believe much of what he says at this point. So perhaps the simplest solution is for him not to be heard from again.
Do you agree with Daniel? Post your comments below.
Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.