There have been some incredible articles written by athletes and journalists about how the Lance saga has affected them or their sport: all you have to do is peruse Twitter or any of the running/triathlon/cycling sites and you’ll get a good taste of everyone’s disgust, particularly in light of last night’s confession. Most are very well written, some are matter of fact, others are bitter and vindictive. I’ve yet to read a single article shedding positive light on the interview.
I’ll be clear: I know precisely nothing about doping in sport. I have no first had experience with it but as an amateur athlete I’ve read a ton about it: who’s done it, who’s suspected of doing it, the whys, hows and whos. I’ve never, to my knowledge, been directly affected by it, so perhaps that negates my right to voice my opinion on this topic. That being said, what knowledge I do have is of the he-said/she-said variety of articles; my eyes glazed over when reading the USADA report. I guess I don’t care that much about the scientific side of it, what with having no interest in doping myself.
I watched Lance on Oprah last night with an interest bordering on fascination. Most people I know/read today are saying that his apology wasn’t sincere, that he was arrogant, controlling and all the rest. There’s no doubt he was well prepared for the tête-à-tête; he’d be an idiot to go in blind and we all know he’s not that. He’s been called out for not naming names, dragging others down. But wasn’t the point of the interview for it to be about him and his actions? Not others who were, ostensibly, doing the same thing (minus, say the bullying and the Foundation building). Yes, I came away with lots of questions – particularly about his “clean comeback” and a few other salient points that didn’t seem to add up. I’m going to watch again tonight and see what else he’s got to say.
Here’s the thing. I don’t know the man, so obviously can’t speak to his personality. However, I suppose I am naive enough to hope that his apology was true – whether he gave us all the details or not. People are screaming “it’s not enough!” So then, what more do we want? Why do need so many details? He himself – and several of his critics – have admitted that this whole “coming clean” business is a process. So perhaps it’s merely a starting point for better things to come? Would people have been happier had he broken down and wept? I don’t get it. Who am I to question his sincerity? Yes, I think he’s got ulterior motives here – millions of dollars of evaporated sponsorship will likely do that to a guy – but frankly, he’s got to start somewhere.
We teach our kids to accept apologies, to look each other in the eye and move on. Why aren’t we doing the same here? I’m not implying we all need to “forgive and forget”, but why not move on? The press has devoted enough ink to the man and his myth, why not start dictating change and focus on those clean athletes doing incredible things instead of rehashing the past over and over?
Naive self, out.