Reactions to Lance Armstrong's Doprah Interview

4 years ago

Thursday night's much publicized broadcast of the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey brought out loads of reaction from people on all sides of the debate.  The biggest question seems to be: are fans more upset that Armstrong doped, or that he lied about it?

There is so much thoughtful - and very personal - commentary about Armstrong being published this week. And some of it may cause you to reconsider your stance on the high profile cyclist who was recently stripped of his Tour de France medals for doping. The same super star athlete who is a cancer survivor and has raised millions of dollars to fight the disease that almost took his life.

The scandal is so riveting that this morning, Paramount announced they've  closed a deal for screen rights to Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong, a proposal for a book that will be written by NYT sports reporter Juliet Macur who has covered Armstrong for over a decade.

Lance Armstrong via

Amongst all the news, here's a sampling of what some bloggers have to say:

In a post titled 'The Problem with Being a Liar", One Crafty Mother writes:

None of us is an angel or a devil. We are all complicated blends of both. Armstrong is as human as the rest of us, so I'm not pointing fingers at him, thinking that somehow vilifying him makes me a better person. Quite the contrary, in fact. I think he's just like me, and anyone else who has lived in the prison of their own creation.

 In "The Man is Not the Mission", Papa Bradstein recalls his own father's battle with cancer and is grateful to Armstrong for providing hope to his family.  He likes the guy.

Of course it’s more complex than that because under the surface of the pedaling, there’s peer pressure. Underneath the victories were vows taken and broken. Did Lance lie? Sure…about riding clean. But he never lied about losing a testicle. Or having a dozen or more golf ball size tumors in his lungs. Or about beating brain cancer, which is what killed Dad...

...And it doesn’t matter to me if Lance doped to get to that mountaintop first. Before he did that, he had to beat cancer. Before he did that, doctors had to deliver to him a cure. Before they did that, researchers had to discover the cure. Before they could do that, they needed the means–the lab, the clinic and the money.

In "A Letter to Lance Armstrong: A Fellow Pro Athlete’s Plea" professional runner Lauren Fleshman writes:

Why would we fight so hard to protect our sports? Here’s what you have never understood, Lance, in all your years as an athlete. To you, the most important thing in sports is winning. But the central tenet of being a professional athlete is not winning; it is fair play. In your warped world, everyone is a cheater, but in reality, 99% of us are doing it right. A commitment to fair play is THE defining element of the profession. We sign agreements to it. Regularly. If you violate that, you may seek forgiveness as a person, but you need to find a new job. The public may not understand sports as a profession, which could lead them to feel sorry for you, but we will help them understand.

 It seems many casual fans are just tired of hearing about Armstrong and are ready for him to just disappear. In a post titled "Why We Need to Stop Enabling Professional Athletes," Perils of Divorced Pauline takes a look at some of the practical implications.

Enabling Armstrong, and other professional athletes, is bad for our culture. It fuels narcissism and ethical misconduct. It teaches children that cheating, lying, and bullying are perfectly acceptable behaviors for gifted athletes, and, hey, wouldn’t it be swell to grow up to be a rich and famous athlete who doesn’t have to follow pesky rules?

As a parent, I find this message deeply troubling. How do I teach my kids about ethics and empathy when the Lance Armstrongs of the world prove that jettisoning scruples is an easy way to get ahead? Why should children listen to anti-bullying messages when they hear stories of athletes and CEOs terrorizing underlings to get their way?

One Crafty Mother points out that "we are a society that likes to build people up to god-like status, and then rub our hands gleefully when the fall. We also like to believe in redemption...[Armstrong] was no more deserving of the adoration, when it comes down to it, than his is of vilification."

And Bradstein reminds us  "Of course the complete answer is more nuanced, because life is always [more] complex than it appears. Swans seem to glide by, but under the surface there’s paddling and pressure, vectors and vortices."

Did you watch the interview? Did it change your opinion in any way?

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