While Lance Armstrong’s positive PR campaign against the USADA verdict got off to a strong start, advisors for the Texan are annoyed with the slow response from long time Armstrong friend and supporter Bob Rolle.
“This shouldn’t be that hard for him to knock out a quick story or video in support of Lance,” said Mike Dedpan, a top PR strategist for Armstrong. “We gave them the talk points and catch phrases three weeks ago. I mean, we got Rick Reilly and Phil Liggett.”
Rolle, a popular bike race announcer for NBC Sports, has been a strong supporter of Armstrong throughout the champion’s long run Tour de France victories. It was Rolle who joined Armstrong in Boone, North Carolina when Armstrong was close to giving up his comeback from cancer. After a week of riding with Rolle and rediscovering his love for the bike, Armstrong would go on to his incredible success in France.
However, the Armstrong public relations campaign may be losing steam without Rolle. “Bob has a wide audience and fans love Bob — he’s funny and down to earth and people trust him because his teeth are crooked,” said Dedpan.
A well-orchestrated public relations campaign with stories from Rick Rielly of ESPN, Michael Hilzick in the LA Times and Buzz Bissinger in Newsweek put Armstrong’s message out loud and clear. But Bob Rolle, the side kick of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, still hasn’t delivered his piece.
“Does he want us to write the Lance editorial for him –that’s fine. Rolle wrote a book for two, himself. So we know it’s not writers block for something,” said Dedpan. “Lance has called him a bunch of times and it’s like, ‘what gives, buddy?'” Rick believes in Lance, Buzz, Michael, Merckx, Chris Carmichael – but we gotta keep the momentum with that Hamilton book coming out in a few days.”
One source claims that Armstrong few out to Rolle’s home in Durango, Colorado for a quick face to face but that hasn’t been confirmed. “Bob is a character, no doubt about that, but seriously, he needs to get with the program,” said Dedpan.