Oh, Lance. Think of the good. Rejuvenating the sport of cycling. The Livestrong association. Donations to cancer research and cancer treatment. Bringing attention to a major sponsor, the USPS.
Does the good mitigate the bad?
The bad is damaging. The bad that’s coming to light now ranges from dishonesty and poor sportsmanship all the way to criminal rule-breaking and intimidation of teammates and now, witnesses.
Between the good and the bad we have the ugly: the Too Big To Fail attitude. The I’m Too Cool to Lose or I’m Too Important to Get Caught syndrome. The I Am This Team and Don’t You Forget It outlook.
Lance, you let a lot of people down. Not just those in cycling and those in your immediate family, either. You’ve let down people who knew and trusted you, those who thought you were the world. You’ve let down people who never met you, but knew you through the ubiquitous yellow bracelets and all that the bracelets represent. Wearing a Livestrong bracelet right now invites arguments to which there are no resolutions.
Then we have the seemingly random quotes that keep getting you in more deeply. Cheating? If you really didn’t know what the word meant, you weren’t in competitive sports. And the argument of Everybody Did It? That doesn’t fly with parents of teenagers, and it doesn’t fly with the enforcers or with the fans – of any sport.
Maybe that’s where the conflict is. It’s not the good vs. the bad or the generous vs. the selfish. It’s the idea of being too cool, too important to follow the same rules and laws as the rest of the world. In that way, Lance, it’s simple.
Sadly, so many talented people get the impression they’re “too big to fail” and that puts them above the law. Shame.