Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Liar, Liar, Cycling Pants on Fire?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51

You may have noticed that after disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong went into the small-screen confessional with high priestess Oprah I was conspicuously silent. I felt that he didn't deserve my attention, either in watching the interviews or offering second-hand analysis of his sincerity. I did hear that he admitted to systematic cheating and lying, but he didn't offer that he was sorry, justifying his actions by claiming that he wasn't really an egregious sinner because his cheating was simply ensuring a level playing field with all the other miscreants.

Well, after last Sunday's interview on Sixty Minutes with the person most responsible for finally exposing Armstrong I decided to bluster away. Travis Tygart, the director of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, says  that rather than "coming clean" Armstrong lied to Winfrey. I had tuned in to Sixty Minutes for President Obama and Hilary Clinton but I stayed for Tygart and he was impressive. Point by point he demonstrated that Armstrong was self-serving and dishonest in his answers to Winfrey. According to Tygart, some of his lies were intended to protect him from prosecution.

Tygart also detailed how the calculating Armstrong destroyed the careers of those on his team who testified against him, as well as other riders. And that he made efforts to both bribe and discredit the USADA along with attempting to intimidate Tygart. Watching with wife Ruth, we agreed that if all this is true Armstrong is an exceptional cruel man, and a pathological liar, despite the crocodile tears of his interview.

We are only a couple of weeks away from Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the season of Lent. We will probably use Psalm 51 once again, in which the powerful but deeply penitent King David cries out for God to create a clean heart within him. David had no press conferences, spin teams, Oprah to rejig his image. He admitted his wrongdoing and started over, through the grace of God.

Anyone else see the Sixty Minutes piece? What about the Oprah interview? Have we become numbed to the dishonesty of those who are supposedly heroes, leaders, and role models? What about our personal honesty?


IanD said...

I was in university when Lance began rattling off Tour titles. Up to that point, I thought Greg Lemond was a big deal for having done it two years in a row back in the early 90s. Here, I thought, was a hero: cancer survivor, badass, champion.

It's now painfully obvious that he's a champion, all right: dude built an organizational apparatus behind projecting his cheating as triumph.

I agree that the apology was tactical, and it will be interesting to see how those people Lance has sued in the past for disparaging his wins as cheating react in legal terms.

willowjakmom said...

I agree as well that the apology was entirely self-serving, but I waved it off as part of the game, typical of celebrity. But after hearing about that 60 minutes episode, now I'm angry. I am going to try to get find it online to watch for myself.

sjd said...

Some people can't even see around theirs they are so big. I believe Mr. Armstrong has this problem. For so many years he has been regarded as the best of the best. I'm not surprised that he is not letting it go.

He is the worst kind of liar. He has lied to himself so long that he believes his own lies.