Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finally admitted to what had been all but a foregone conclusion on today’s Oprah talk show filming in Austin — that he had indeed used performance-enhancing drugs during his time in professional cycling. The show is set to air this Thursday.
Armstrong, a well-known testicular cancer survivor, and founder of the Livestrong Foundation in Austin, Texas that raises money for cancer research and advocacy, apologized to the organization’s employees today and presumably first disclosed his misdeeds to these same folks before appearing on Oprah.
The question which I just cannot get out of my mind is why Armstrong felt it necessary to wait for months after his initial sanction by the World Anti-Doping Agency and his lifetime ban from competitive events under their umbrella to lighten his burden and finally admit that he had been cheating for all of those years.
Not only is the timing bizarre — and the medium questionable at best — but if anyone out there assumes Armstrong made this announcement without compensation, you’re out of your minds. A laundry list of celebrities have made personal confessions to the “Queen of Talk” but very few, if any of them, have done so pro bono. Their agents wouldn’t allow such a bad business practice.
After all, our country loves nothing more than public displays of emotion from our biggest icons, whether they be in the entertainment or sports arenas.
Given that Armstrong almost certainly profited from his appearance today — I don’t know this is absolutely the case but it is certainly reasonable to assume — his decision comes off as selfish and insincere. It’s an often-discussed issue here in Austin, where Armstrong’s public persona often belies one that is much more self-centered and biting behind closed doors than his glowing philanthropic record would lead us to suggest.
Some will argue that a confession is a confession and at least he’s finally come clean.
Is it really a “clean” confession though in such a public forum? Why did he feel the need to do this in front of a television audience of millions?
Wouldn’t have personal apologies to those who were most affected have sufficed?