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.