I'm just going to put this out there.
I feel.....actually, I don't know what I feel. I don't feel sorry for him. It's not sympathy. I think maybe.....I don't know. Is it compassion? I honestly don't know what it is, but I feel uneasy, uncomfortable about the scorn and the wrath that many are directing at him.
Yes, the man cheated. On a grand scale. He repeatedly denied it too. He attacked those who accused him of cheating. He took them to court. The damage he did. He did everything he could to keep living the lie. He took people down. Brutally. And then, when he couldn't deny it any longer, he was done. A cornered rat. And he folded. Armstrong admitted he'd cheated and then he lost everything.
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The seven Tour de France titles. Gone. Millions of dollars in lost income. His relationship went belly up. The impact on his school-aged children would have been huge. And yes, all self-inflicted. He brought it on himself. And now, wherever he goes, for the rest of his life, he carries that burden of shame. He's a cheater. A drug cheat. His sporting achievements, once glorious, now count for nothing. As far as screwing up his life, Armstrong took it to the next level and his downfall has been epic.
So, at what point do you stop wading in and kicking him? As I said, I feel uneasy about the abuse and the anger that's directed at him. He's invited people along for a ride this morning. You don't have to go, but if you want to, well, knock yourself out. He's doing some sort of quirky campaign with Lion - it won't be an endorsement. No company in their right mind would ask Armstrong to endorse a product. Instead, we're told it will be some sort of cautionary tale. Whatever that means. But that interview, that infamous interview with Oprah was in 2013. It's been almost four years since Armstrong confessed that he was a cheat.
At what point has someone paid their penance? At what point....because we're a bloody tough race I think when it comes to forgiving people ....at what point do you say, 'well you've served your time'? And by time I mean that Armstrong has been vilified all over the world. He's the most despised athlete on the planet. No-one wants to hear him speak. No-one wants him to endorse their products. No-one wants to employ him. He'll never compete again. So Armstrong has lost it all, but like the rest of us, he still has to put food on the table for his family, he's still got to pay the bills. So when Lion comes knocking, ofcourse he's going to take them up on that offer.
He still does charity work. He's raised money for cancer charities...including his LiveStrong campaign. And so his presence here doesn't worry me. I can't see where the fallout will occur.
Perhaps you do?
But while his presence here doesn't worry me, the abuse that's rained down on him since he's arrived...that does.
Armstrong's copped his fair share of abuse over the years, but that abuse doesn't define him. It defines those who take the time to dish it out.