The Corporate Verdict Against Lance Armstrong
Two weeks ago, the United States Anti-Doping Agency produced its reasoned decision and literally thousands of pages of evidence outlining the doping practices of Lance Armstrong and his teammates. That evidence included multiple affidavits from previous teammates of Lance that painted the picture of the most regimented doping scheme seen in professional sports. If you think that Lance did not dope, you should probably stop reading.
The evidence went beyond doping and painted Lance as a bully who attempted to intimidate potential competitors and ultimately potential witnesses. The evidence indicates that not only was Lance doping but required his teammates to do so. This picture of Lance is in stark contrast to the Cancer survivor and hero. Most cycling fans were not surprised but ultimately the question became what would corporate sponsors do? They are cutting ties with Lance.
Nike’s press release is damming:
Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.
Others followed suit including Anheuser Busch, FRS (the energy drink), Giro Helmets, and Trek Bicycles. Corporate American clearly no longer wants to be associated with Lance. Maybe that verdict is more telling than any other.
So what are Lance’s options? It’s actually pretty simple, (1) continue to maintain your innocence despite the overwhelming evidence against you; or (2) come clean. Coming clean is highly unlikely. To begin with, it would subject him to possible perjury charges because he has gone under oath previously and denied the use of performance enhancing drugs. That said, is law enforcement ready to go after another American athlete for perjury? Probably not.
America has a big heart. Coming clean is the only way for Lance to right his ship. He has put himself in the corner, which unfortunately he will have to live in for the rest of his life.