You probably heard the news today that Lance Armstrong has declined to engage with the USADA’s witch hunt and cherry-picked arbitration proceedings, which means that body will seek to have him stripped of his Tour de France titles.
Process for a moment that:
- The most recent event for which he’ll actually be sanctioned is from 2005.
- They seek to punish him going all the way back to 1999.
- They have refused to disclose any evidence prior to arbitration.
- Armstrong never tested positive when racing.
- The “case” from the USADA is based entirely on accusations from racers who may or may not have made deals to protect their own careers or fortunes. They have zero physical evidence.
I don’t actually care, at this point, if he doped back then or not. Given what we now know of the culture of pro cycling until the last several years, it’s at least possible. But, as in any sport, there are rules and there are rules about following those rules. Lance’s career was during a dope-heavy era; he followed the rules, though, at least as far as not testing positive. And he was tested very, very often. There were no positive tests. Punishing him in 2012 for things that were gray areas or unclear in 2001 seems unfair. Punishing him for “suspicion of doping” — which is what this boils down to — is a travesty.
I think Lance is correct to refuse to engage any further. It is abundantly obvious that the USADA and Tyler Tygart are deeply invested in punishing him regardless of the facts. It’s unclear to me what benefit they’ll gain by doing this, or why this was a better use of their resources than clean-racing programs and enforcement for people actually still racing. It reeks of ex post facto enforcement, and it does not deserve to be treated with the dignity a fair proceeding would merit.
That’s not all, though. Tygart and his cronies will also, through this action, almost certainly harm the work that has defined post-Tour Lance Armstrong: Cancer support and fundraising. They’re not helping cycling, and they’re harming Livestrong.org as “collateral damage,” and are apparently okay with this.
That’s some serious bullshit, and makes it look even MORE like an ugly vendetta.
They make it easy and painless to do one-time or recurring donations; the latter is my favorite option — it spreads gifts over time, and makes things automatic. You can even do it in honor, or in memory, of someone.
Go. Give. Make something positive of this witch hunt. You Heathen usually have at least a few extra bucks rattling around, right?