It’s like the movie, book title and crime show line — “Your Money or Your Life?”
After the United States Anti-Doping Agency gave him an extra two weeks weeks to mull over the implications of the choice, Lance Armstrong made his final call.
He’s taking the money, screw life — and forget that Ironman in Chicago at age 50.
Having watched his legend implode, his sponsors flee, his sporting career terminate, his popularity disappear and his entire life unravel, Armstrong would still rather hold onto his money than work toward personal redemption, a reduced sporting ban or any attempt to undo the damage he has done to the sport.
There’s no other way to evaluate that decision than to say that his wallet matters more than how the rest of the world sees him. Rather than testify under oath in front of USADA, his priority is avoiding additional litigation and financial liability.
The $12 million dollar SCA Promotions lawsuit and the Floyd Landis Whistleblower lawsuit have taken precedence over helping to clean up the sport. Not morality, ethics, redemption, not a guilty conscience — nope, Armstrong said no to USADA as a simple matter of accounting.
While Armstrong has stated that he’s happy to testify as part of a Truth & Reconciliation process and will the “the first one through door,” that door doesn’t exist and may never exist. It’s a weak excuse and a pointless stall if he has any hope for some level of public forgiveness.
There is no timetable for creating a T&R and the UCI and WADA continue to squabble over terms and conditions and feasibility. The UCI has already dissolved the Independent Commission it set up to investigate, among other issues, whether the UCI payed a role in the success of Armstrong’s doping program during his run of seven Tour wins.
Essentially, that means that Armstrong won’t be testifying to anyone about anything for the foreseeable future. It’s all about the money and keeping as much of the fortune as possible. Still reeling from his losses, the “$75 million dollar day” he suffered when the sponsors all left, Lance is spending his efforts on asset retention. So no, Betsey Andreu, you won’t ever be getting that hospital admission.
While Armstrong spin-master Mark Fabiani has been silent for months, lawyer Tim Herman offered up some classic misdirection and leftover witch-hunt lingo to explain why his client won’t work with USADA. “Lance will not participate in USADA’s efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95 percent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction,” said Herman.
It’s hard to give up that witch-hunt persecution thing even when it failed miserably — as did Fabiani’s salmonella gambit. Armstrong lost the international jurisdiction battle six months ago when Judge Sparks –in Austin, Texas, of all places — ruled that USADA, not the UCI or WADA, was the correct authority. The Boss just hates Travis Tygart because Tygart destroyed him.
As to Herman’s amusing misdirection that most of the sport is European, we’ll let anyone with an IQ over 80 handle that one. This testimony is about the Belgian Johan Bruyneel, the UCI in Switzerland, the Spanish riders on US Postal, the “European” doctors who helped run the doping program and the small army of people all over the world who enabled it. In a global sport, this is hardly a local story.
As Garmin-Sharp’s Jonathan Vaughters has said, this isn’t about Lance, it’s about trying to save the entire sport. Without the USADA Reasoned Decision, there would be little hope of the fundamental, systemic changes required to pull pro cycling out of the dark, doping age.
A few weeks ago, Armstrong said that UCI president Pat McQuaid is always in “CYA mode” — cover your ass. Twisted Spoke thinks that Lance is also deep in CYA mode.
Cover Your Assets.