Monday, May 23, 2011

Lance Armstrong Has Been Given a Pass Because of Cancer

So following last night's 60 Minutes, in which Lance Armstrong's former teammate Tyler Hamilton claimed the 7 time Tour de France winner was in fact using PEDs while competing, yours truly took to twitter and wrote the following: The only reason Lance Armstrong was given the benefit of the doubt by the general public, is because he had cancer.

There were a few who took exception to these sad but true comments, and I defended what I said, reiterating that I didn't say I felt him to be guilty of these allegations, but simply that the general public wasn't scrutinizing Armstrong as strongly as other athletes, because of the fact that he's a cancer survivor, and he's the face of the "Live Strong" motto.

Fast forward to today both in print and on the telly, The Nation's Dave Zirin on ESPN's Outside the Lines said, "Armstrong needs to be looked at differently, because of the work he's done for cancer."

In his column, Zirin says in part that Armstrong- in his defenders, "has an army (of cancer survivors)." Zirin, who comes off as a Armstrong defender, even goes as far to say that the Federal Government should drop the investigation, and allow the cycling community to police its own with a commissioner and union.

Whether or not Armstrong took drugs and got away with it will remain to be seen. I understand he has an impeccable record when it comes to passing the tests administered to him. I simply think that you are quite the naive one, if you think that (up until this point) he hasn't been given the benefit of the doubt by the general public, because of his survival of cancer, and the hundreds of millions of dollars he's helped raised subsequently.

Its not a knock on Armstrong, and his iconic American Hero image, and I'm not trying to be insensitive to cancer survivors, as I have a mother who is one herself. But if the guy was doping- cancer or no cancer, and there seems to be a lot of chatter that he was, as in "testimony to a grand jury chatter"-then he needs to be held accountable for his actions, just like every other cheat who compromises the integrity of the sport they play.

Follow on twitter @sportsyack @judgepatrick @beav4666

Picture courtesy of Richard Masoner via Flickr

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