In the biggest cycling news since somebody found out you could put baseball cards in the spokes to make it sound cool, 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is “subject to lifetime ban and fan fallout” for saying he was giving up his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s doping charges.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, enough is enough,” Armstrong’s statement read. “For me, that time is now.”
Also on Thursday night, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it will strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, said Armstrong would be subject to a lifetime ban from the sport.
Friday on “CBS This Morning,” CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian said the original charges brought against Armstrong in June were based on “non-analytical evidence” that he used performance enhancing drugs. This evidence reportedly included testimony from several former teammates, including Tyler Hamilton who told “60 Minutes” that he frequently saw Armstrong inject “EPO,” a banned naturally occurring hormone known as a blood booster. (via CBS News)
The statement brings up a lot of unanswered questions. Does Armstrong’s figurative tap-out mean he’s guilty and can’t deal with lying anymore? If a high-profile athlete like Armstrong is stripped of his titles for doping, does that set a precedent that leads to high-profile athletes in other sports losing their championships and accolades for failing drug tests? What if they’re just one person on a team? Will Armstrong be okay living the rest of his life with a Bad News Bears-esque “we know who REALLY won those races” talking point?
The most important question is this: Do you seriously care about Lance Armstrong?
It’s a big deal, don’t get me wrong, but an allegation like this and an admission of surrender like his brings out every person with a newspaper or a blog or the Internet to weigh in on it. Some people think he’s a victim of harassment. Others think he’s a terrible cheater. All I can think to write is, “nobody gave a shit about cycling or cyclists doping until Lance Armstrong showed up, and if your only interest in or knowledge of cycling is Lance Armstrong winning the Tour De France … which, face it, it totally is … why does this matter?” The WADA guy says Lance is guilty because he doesn’t want to argue anymore. Of COURSE he does. The guy accusing Lance of doping in the first place? Also a colossal cheater. Because if he couldn’t do it, how could Lance?
You do not care about cycling. If you do, you’re probably in Lance’s position already — you don’t want to hear any more about this, whether he doped or not. Enough is enough, right? So here’s an idea: let’s just not talk about cycling anymore. People who do it for a living can enjoy it, and we can all choose to be a little less self righteous about a thing we only kinda-sorta were forced into knowing about.
Or get CBS News to send a reporter to Sheryl Crow’s house to get her thoughts and desperately try to dry our eyes, whatever. If you want to read his entire statement, you can do that here.