Rant on Lance reactions. You freakin’ dumb-asses.

 

Dumb-ass!

The United States Anti-Doping Agency has concluded that Lance Armstrong was a cheat, a liar and a bully. The evidence is overwhelming and also shocking for anyone who doesn’t follow the sport in detail on a daily obsessive basis.

What’s been most interesting has been the reactions to the USADA findings. We at Twisted Spoke find a number of those reactions misguided and superficial and just plain jack-ass stupid.

There’s a huge contingent of people who react with the blanket “fuck ‘em all.” That’s beyond moronic but lets work with it, the same way we might work with mentally handicapped children — with love, patience and the understanding that they simply can’t function at the higher level.

The “fuck ‘em all” crowd is one angry bunch and maybe that’s their primary characteristic besides an infantile black or white picture of the world and human nature. They’re mad at USADA, they’re mad Armstrong getting caught, they’re disgusted at Armstrong, they’re deceive by Leipheimer and Hincape, they’re pissed off that Garmin’s Vande Velde and Danielson and Zabriskie admitted to doping.

They’re angry that Jonathan Vaughters still runs a team, that cycling has failed them again, they didn’t like USADA’s methods but they’re also angry at Juan Pelota. It’s an unfocused anger and it’s also an unintelligent anger and the sad irony is that it’s an Armstrong anger.

The Greek tragedy of Armstrong is that he sees the world in black and white, winner and loser, troll and loyalist. There is no gray in Lance’s world and there is no gray for all these angry folks. They’re are all about absolutes, guilty, not guilty, choice, no choice, good or evil. They don’t have the time or energy or mental capacity to wrestle with the fact that life is messy and stinks like fish heads and doesn’t lend itself to 2nd grade categorization.

What am I trying to say? These people are dumb-asses.

Gosh, sorry, ethics and morality are such a tough subject that defies the knee-jerk, brain-off approach. Sorry that justice wasn’t delivered on your ideal time table. Sorry that the issues are more complicated and international and cultural and all-too-human for your IQ to keep up.

Sorry that you’re still asking for a positive doping test for Armstrong because you think that’s the only proof. Sorry, you don’t understand how the US justice system works. Sorry that it’s hard for you to grasp that people can change from lying to telling the truth. Sorry you’re so susceptible to the Big Lie Armstrong PR machine. Sorry you just haven’t done your homework but still feel confident throwing out your clueless bullshit. Sorry you’re so worked up about Vaughters still running a team after his admissions and three of his riders giving testimony despite the fact that Garmin is the most visionary team in the fight against doping.

Sorry you have a hard time with nuance and facts and evidence and human nature and the gradations of guilt and the realities of lying and the necessary fire we have to go through to get to the other side. Bunch of whiners all around. Makes us think about Wiggins’ Tour de France diatribe on “bone-idlers.”

Did we say dumb-asses?

Am I annoyed that it took people like Hincapie and Leipheimer and Vande Velde years and years to come forward? Yes. Do I understand the culture within cycling was so polluted and lacking in leadership that a few lone voices would accomplish nothing and that taking a stand would mean career suicide? Yes.

Do I accept that we’d have to reach a tipping point, a critical mass where it would suddenly be okay for riders to testify in bulk? Yes. Am I willing to guess that 95% of us who were faced with the same dilemma would have also doped? Yes. (It’s easy to moralize when you’ve never been there.) Do I know enough about human nature and lying to understand that with each passing year it gets harder to get out of the lie because there’s more money and sponsors and expectations and pressures? Yes.

Yeah, bummer that Levi Leipheimer perhaps doped his way to a stunning house in the wine country of Northern California. Yeah, Hincapie traded on this fame to successfully build a sports apparel company. Armstrong is probably a billionaire but given the choice I’ll take my life over his psychotic denial. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the newspaper but some nice people get screwed eery day and others get rich. It’s not a new trend.

Fuck ‘em all” is the lazy way out and it focuses the anger on the individual because, hey, that’s so much easier than wading into the shit-pile doping culture the UCI allowed to fester out of control. You want a battle cry? Then “Fuck the UCI” is a far more accurate and effective one and that’s why so many people have donated to the defense of Paul Kimmage in his battle against the UCI.

Question for dumb-asses everywhere? How strong are you? How willing would you be to give up your dream or face the destruction of your career if you spoke up? Lose your house, perhaps damage your marriage, have no money for your kids? What kind of courage do you have for bucking the system, of being a maverick, a moralist, whistleblower, someone willing to accept the worst consequences for the absolute truth?

Is that the way people describe you at work because most likely you’re not that fearless shining light just like nobody confuses me with the Dalai Lama. It’s a big peloton and we didn’t see too many guys like Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni. In case you haven’t noticed — how many of today’s pro riders said anything critical about the UCI or made a point about speaking out against doping? Ponder that, dumb-ass.

The translation for “fuck ‘em all” is “I am a child incapable dealing with complicated human issues. I prefer to see the world like Lance in black and white.” Maybe that gets you seven Tour de France wins and maybe that also gets you seven Tour de France titles stripped.

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  • John

    You know who the real dumb-ass is…the guy that wrote this.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      John, you prove my point. One sentence and you’re out. Just too ethically challenging for you. Stick to the comics — so mentally less taxing. Matt

    • Major Roadie

      You know who the real a$$ hat is? One guess…

      • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

        Major, I don’t have a guess. Elucidate.

  • IWearSpandex

    Nice rant! Good long one too.

    I’m no genius and I didn’t take a poll, but Twitter was full of folks on one side or the other…”fuck ‘em all” or “Armstrong never tested positive.” There were very few folks in the middle. You hit it on the head…it takes real brain power to understand the middle of this issue. Lots of folks seem unwilling to use real brain power here. They want it done, over, and tied in a bow. They want cycling to be where baseball is now, where everyone believes the steroid era is over and baseball is clean again. Excuse me while I go laugh my head off.

    I’m going too long here…into rant status. Nice job!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      The baseball analogy is a valid one. The shock is that for all the doping in cycling, they’ve still done a better job on some level than baseball and football who can barely even get started or admit to a serious problem. Matt

  • Bob T

    Well stated. You hit the nail on the head. The only way forward for professional cycling is to sack McQuaid and straighten out the UCI (if that is even possible). The really troubling thing to me about this era of cycling was not the systematic doping machine implemented by Armstrong and Bruyneel but the bullying and intimidation that caused so much public humiliation and financial ruin for anyone who had the courage to stand up and tell it like it was.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Bob, all I want for Christmas is to see McQuaid sacked. Matt

    • messenger666

      So how does that differ from the real world of banking, commerce, politics, education and on and on. We are sheep being led to slaughter every day by the machine of all of the above. I am not and NEVER have been shocked by the LA machine. They have learned lessons well.

      And as for replacing McQuaid with XXX. Who T-F is going to do a better/cleaner job? Anyone who has risen to a high enough in the ranks to be a contender in the power circle has been tainted. AND McQuaid was put there by support from S. America, where doping is rampant. Do you think they will want a cleaner/less blind Prez?

      No itis a mess of mega proportions that will take years to sort out.

  • The SuperStrom

    Bravo Matt.
    Bravo…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Love bravo, wish I could get bravo on a daily basis. Matt

  • http://www.about.me/kennethtrueman Kenneth Trueman

    Well said. Kicking ass and taking names. Thank you.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Ken, I love that expression, thanks. Matt

  • Quancho

    Show me the pee cup with the dope in it. Stories about what somebody thinks he remembers he might have seen fifteen years ago just don’t convince me.

  • Quancho

    Show me the pee cup with the dope in it. Stories about what somebody thinks he remembers he thinks he saw fifteen years ago just aren’t all that convincing.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Quancho, if you read the affidavit testimony of all those riders including Lance’s best buddy Hincapie and you still prefer to believe Armstrong, well, you’re beyond help. Fact is, Armstrong failed two doping tests but they were covered up. Expect to hear more about that. Matt

    • http://twitter.com/SGFuthey Susan Futhey

      Dude. Did you even bother to read this blog entry?

  • bumpermeat

    Having written the comment, “f*** ‘em all,” on this blog, I was only trying to convey a simple feeling – look to oneself for inspiration to ride (or play football, soccer, etc.), not the pros. As an adult, that detachment is easy.

    As a father, I have to explain to my sons that even “heroes” have character flaws like the rest of us.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Bumper, thanks for following up. I also have that sentiment sometimes and I can understand you’re feelings. I just used it as a spring board to remind folks that we all need to dig a little deeper about this instead of just blowing everybody off. Timmy Duggan is a good hero if your sons need a new one. BEst, Matt

  • http://twitter.com/SGFuthey Susan Futhey

    Excellent rant Matt. Nail.On.Head.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Susan, I’m too old to rant on a regular basis anymore. I have to pick my spots but once in a while, I vent. If only to clear out the bile, Matt

  • Frank

    Quancho, not to state the obvious but I think Matt wrote this rant thinking about you

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  • Biker2

    This is very well said. The 3rd to the last paragraph especially. Makes me think of Floyd Landis and all the strength and courage it took for him to come clean, knowing that the house of Lance and most of the world would have the exact reaction you describe. Any plans to talk to Landis in the near future? Hear he is back on the bike!