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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CHEATSTRONG and Prosper? Not On My Watch...

Lance Armstrong: AKA Fraudzilla...
Any lawyer will tell you, it's tough to convict someone based strictly on co-conspirator testimony.  They'll also probably tell you, that when it comes to dealing with powerful, seemingly omnipotent, career criminals, that co-conspirator and/or accomplice testimony is usually the only kind you're going to be able to get your hands on.  Someone lower on the food chain, flipping on someone higher, simply to get themselves out of hot water.  It comes off as desperate and selfish, but in my opinion, that doesn't make it any less true.  What it comes down to, what you as a "juror" need to decide, is not are they credible, but are they believable.  Are they telling the truth?  That, my friends, is what we've come to in the saga that is, Lance Armstrong.  And to be honest, if you're still buying the LIVESTRONG hype after all you've seen and heard, then I'm afraid you may be the one that only has one nut left.  Rolling around upstairs, that is...


In the drug game, that's what they call a "hand to hand"
He says he's clean.  That he's been tested more than his whole sport combined.  His former teammates and competitors?  Well, they have a completely different story, and right now, they're feeding it to the press with increased consistency.  They say that while the golden boy was peddling his golden image and golden bracelets on his way to 7 Tour de France titles, that he was as dirty as the rest of the sport.  A "sport", I might add, that could easily brand it's entire existence as, "The Steroid Era".  The question now, is do we believe them?  Are they credible?...

Obviously, my answer is yes. I believe them.  I think they are low down, cheating scum that are just trying to score a quick buck and save their own hides, but I believe them.  That's me, though, and I've believed Lance cheated long before Roid Landis, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton came out from whatever rock they've been hiding under, so I'll admit that maybe I'm not the best litmus test when it comes to this.  Hell, I was wearing a homemade "Lance Armstrong Does Steroids" bracelet (rubber band) back in 2003!  The thing is, I'm fairly sure these new allegations aren't just something I've wanted to hear for going on 10 years now, they're more a case of multiple people being UNable to keep a secret this big for any real length of time.  It's just much harder to run a wide ranging conspiracy then Oliver Stone would lead you to believe.  These things all come crumbling down eventually, and it's always the guys at the bottom who knock over the first few dominoes.  I think these guys would lie for money, and are only coming forward now because of money, but last time I checked, just because you're poor, doesn't mean you don't know the truth.  And with the details to which these guys speak, it appears they've known the truth for all too long.  Problem is, they were cheating right along with him, which is why they're only coming out now.  Now that their 'careers' are more or less over, too...

Had he kept the ill stache? Eh, I'd give him a pass...
Now, are the credible?  Well of course not.  They're convicted cheaters with axes to grind, that can easily be dismissed as jealous and money hungry.  But I ask you, did you need "credibility" to convict Barry Bonds in the court of public opinion?  No, of course you didn't.  Yet though nothing has ever been "proven", it's a foregone conclusion that the man was perhaps the greatest cheater in all of MLB history.  Why?  Well, swollen head aside, it's because he was able to perform at a ridiculously high level, despite the fact that logic and history said such a performance bordered on the impossible.  Nobody seemed to care about the character of his accusers, did they? (tons of evidence came forth later, but I'm more speaking to when Bobnds was first suspected).  And just to be clear, I didn't make that last statement to play the race card.  If anything, I was playing the "sport" card.  People care more about baseball, so they're more anxious to pounce on cheaters, that's all.  Although if you want to jump to that conclusion, then by all means, feel free.  I won't discourage you...

So does that mean that anyone who achieves something that's never been done before should immediately be suspected of cheating?  Of course it doesn't, but put that person in bed with a pharmaceutical company (Lance/Bristol Myers, Barry/BALCO), a notoriously dirty sport (MLB/cycling), and a meteoric rise to prominence that comes seemingly out of nowhere, and I'm sorry, but I'm going to be skeptical every time out.  That's just the way I roll.  I see smoke, I see people running out a building screaming, and I tend to think there's a fire.  Call me old fashioned, call me naive, but that's just how I get down...

Bros before bikes, man...
Now, the question now becomes, at least for me, not if he cheated, but does the fact that he did cheat even matter to the general public?  After all, we're talking about a guy who's helped raise awareness and untold millions for cancer and a guy that's all but fallen out of the public eye since he stopped winning races back in 2005.  Not only has he been legendarily charitable, but he's not even really in the lime light.  So, does it matter that he cheated?  No, it doesn't....at least it doesn't anymore.  If all of these witnesses came forward in say, 2003, then yeah, maybe it would matter, but anything short of a full confession from Lance himself will continue to barely register as news.  Why?  Well, because the guy's done so much for cancer research and is such a beloved character in a sport that nobody really cares about.  A double standard?  Of course it is.  But a fair one?  Well, that's where things get a little bit muddled for me...

For instance.  Last week, I ripped former Villanova player, Will Sheridan, a new one (extreme no homo) for using the fact that he was "coming out" to help him sell albums and increase his public profile.  With Lance, it sort of came in reverse.  First, he became famous, then he used his popularity to help spread awareness and raise money for cancer.  Cheater or not, that's pretty unselfish stuff, right there, even if it did earn him millions of dollars.  Matter of fact, it almost makes me wanna give him a pass.  Not on the fact that he used performance enhancers and cheated his way to the top of his sport, but on any post-cheating punishment...

I know, I know.  I've been ripping this guy for years and now I wanna give him a pass!?  Yeah sure, why the Hell not?  I mean, again, and I can't stress this enough, but NOBODY CARES!  Everybody has long since put away their LIVESTRONG bracelets, forgotten about the shirtless runs with Matthew McConaughey and dates with Sheryl Crow, and put this guy and his "feel good story" in their respective rear view mirrors.  All exposing him now will do is rip the confidence of naive fans who don't know any better, and tarnish the reputation of a front man for a very noble and worthy cause.  Besides, it's not like anyone is really trying to clean up cycling, right?  Or watching it, for that matter.  So who cares?  Fact is, the guy has done more to help cancer research than he ever did to hurt cycling, so I'm at the point now where I'm willing to let bygones by bygones...if he removes himself from professional sports and the public eye...which he hasn't done...

At least he's not wearing a uni-tard...
That's where I find myself in the saga that is Lance Armstrong.  IF he continues to compete in races, no matter how small, and if he continues to find himself even on even the outskirts of the public conscious, then I'll have no choice but to continue backing and speaking the belief, Hell, the near certainty, that not only did he cheat his way to 7 Tour de France titles, but he perpetrated perhaps the biggest con on the American public that professional sports has ever seen.  Sorry, but again, that's just how I get down.  I see someone lying to a group of people, and I can't help but call them out.  Not just because I like to be right or tell people they're wrong (I don't hate those things either), but because I can't stand watching good natured people being taken advantage of (unless it's me doing it at the poker table)...

To form a self serving comparison, Lance Armstrong is the Bernie Madoff of this shit.  He lied and cheated his way to the top, took your money, and did it all while sporting a Cheshire cat grin.  Like Bernie, Lance wanted to get to the top, and didn't care how he got there  The only difference is, OK there are a lot of differences, but the main one is, he actually put the money he took from you and put it towards a good cause, instead of cramming it entirely into his own pocket...

Some of you will say that I'm too tough on Lance, and that I spend way too much time talking about a guy I claim not to like, but like I said, I view this more as a public service.  Maybe selfishly, I don't know, but I wouldn't have written this if I didn't think there were still a lot of people out there that felt all the accusations against him were just some sort of Eurotrash witch hunt.  I'm here to remind you, they're not.  The guy cheated, and like Barry Bonds before him, his downfall will be not being able to walk away.  He completely retires after 2005?  Nobody but the French are looking into this, and there's no way 60 Minutes would be willing to touch someone trying to come forth and tarnish Armstrong's reputation.  Never mind paying them to do so.  Maybe that wouldn't change the fact that he cheated OR that I thought he cheated, but at least it would save the myth for those that had put the man up atop their moral hierarchy.  Unfortunately for them, it's looking as if it's not a matter of IF, but WHEN that myth is going to be debunked...

But whatever, it's just cycling...

Bill Simmons: The Sports Ted
That's it for this week, friends.  Check back next week as I torch Bill Simmons and discuss 'ESPN: The Book', along with the normal Sox news and I'm sure a myriad of other topics.  Or none of that stuff I just mentioned, and maybe I just rip Lance Armstrong again.  Who knows?  But check back, either way, because I'm sure it'll be chock full of info-tainment...

Oh and Frosco wants me to remind everybody to start leaving comments.  We know you're out there reading, people, and now that Frosco's fixed the comments section, it's time to kick this bad Larry into high gear!  So bring it, friends.  Comments, critiques, requests, I don't care.  I just want the Nation be be heard!  We gotta build this sucker up!  Ya know, so that when the real rapture comes you can all serve as my highway army as we wander the Earth, waiting for it to be destroyed....

Show me potato salad!!

Have a great rest of the week, my damies.  And I'll catch you on the flipman...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

7 comments:

Sobes said...

I think I'd enjoy being part of a highway army...

Brett Ferruccio said...

Nice. Let's get that thing goin'. I'll bring the potato salad, as long as you remember to GRAB SOME BUDS!

Frosco said...

That sounds like a plan...except for Randy Newman over there... http://www.220.ro/desene-animate/Family-Guy-Randy-Newman/O4pfCdxLrx/

Robbie said...

"Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot." By far my favorite episode. I want an update on that Ted website. When does that list of Ted come out?

Mich9 said...

google knows it :-D

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