Lance Armstrong

After years of denial, Lance Armstrong reportedly admitted to doping this week during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The confession by the seven-time Tour de France winner further opens the door to public scrutiny, lawsuits and millions in lost endorsements. Sources say Armstrong came clean because he wants to continue competing. Should athletes who doped be allowed to participate in the world of competitive sports? We’ll also consider the case of Barry Bonds, who was the center of a baseball steroids scandal, and whether he should be admitted to the Hall of Fame.

Guests:
Lance Williams, senior reporter for California Watch, a part of the Center for Investigative Reporting
Daniel Coyle, co-author of "The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs," a book he co-wrote with cyclist Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong's who also admitted to doping
Peter Flax, editor-in-chief of Bicycling Magazine
Bruce Jenkins, sports columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    While Mr. Armstrong may admit to ‘doping’, I think a lot depends on how many times he did it. The fact he had had cancer, survived cancer and still ‘doped’ concerns me.

    Did he ever tell his cancer doctors who followed him for years, that he was ‘doping’? What are the negative medical aspects of these drugs being used by folks with compromised immune systems?

    And how about we punish those who make and give these drugs to athletes? And why haven’t we?

  • Guest

    Lance Armstrong *is* the All-American hero, no longer something one would ever want to be called.

  • Dario

    What is is the moral argument against doping? because it is not healthy? so if it is done in a controlled/safe way, would it be ok? Because it is unfair advantage? Would then be ok if available to everyone (as it is in any professional sport).

    • Guest

      It is dishonest. Doping subverts competition.

      • Dario

        boy that is really a profound answer. The question was why we decided it is “dishonest”? Are vitamins dishonest? and if not why? what is the argument. It was a thought provoking question, not a way to express common place ideas.

        • Guest

          I don’t see the word you quote back at me, “dishonest,” anywhere in your question, sir. Don’t dismiss me because you can’t string together a complete sentence. Honesty is the crux of morality.

  • Will

    Armstrong is a Tonny Soprano of doping in cycling?! Please!

    This is a serious issue, so let’s not get too hysterical or sensational.

    He was an real cyclist, who doped better than others during an epoch of doping, and cycling suffered the consequences. I think it is also interesting that pro and recreational cycling and it’s sponsors also rode that doping fueled sensation to the bank as well.

    I also think it’s interesting that when you have competition or ‘enemies,’ political and otherwise, opinion is a weapon, and admitting guilt is that much harder.

    ‘Hope I get a ride in today…

  • For Mr. Armstrong’s apologists, what do they think of his treatment of Greg LeMond, Frankie and Betsy Andreu, the Irish masseuse (whose name escapes me), and on and on? Does Mr. Armstrong have any apologies for them?

  • johnqeniac

    The societal issue is far larger than Lance Armstrong. Certainly violators have to be exposed and held accountable. But why only the athletes? Whether it is baseball doping, track and field, the finance industry, wars on lies, torture, it’s endless. Why does the ruling class invariably escape accountability? They knew their sport was corrupt long before they started taking action. Why? Because they benefited. Why are the rulers, leaders, administrators never held accountable? – greg slater

  • johnqeniac

    Your guest is very cynical. Even the reporters were guilty of not examining this issue seriously. There is an issue of those who have played clean.

  • Guest

    I appreciate Bruce Jenkins’ candidness. This is precisely why I never read the sports section: sports journalism condones and rewards unacceptable behavior, so I don’t condone sports journalism.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      I don’t read the sports page or magazines because few if any of the writers have ever played the sport they report on or any sport.

  • Chris

    This was all very calculated. Oprah gives him a sympathetic forum as opposed to a press conference. He is motivated I believe by fear of Landis’ whistle blower lawsuit, not because he wants to compete.

    Also can someone comment on the myth of a level playing field with regards to doping as Jonathan Vaughters claims.

    Also cycling tests more than any other sport. Do you know that Jenkins?

  • Chris

    The way Armstrong acted is what I have a problem with. I remember Tyler Hamilton coming clean on 60 Minutes. He could’ve just made no comment but he personally attacked Hamilton as well as others. This makes him bereft of integrity and a simple speedbump to me…..not that i want to run him over…..he’s simply forgettable now.

    • Not totally forgettable. He’s worth remembering as yet another example of how often cheaters win in today’s world… And not only in sports.

      Apart from that, I agree with you 100%.

  • Guest

    Given Armstrong’s long association with the US Postal Service, I think he is now a prime candidate to grace a new (useless) 1/2 cent postage stamp.

  • mary

    Regarding the effect of doping on clean athletes, I would like to draw attention to the ‘dark side’ section of the retirement statement of Nicole Cook (2008 Olympic Women’s bike road race champion).
    In particular the observation that the cheats win on the way up and the way down…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jan/14/nicole-cooke-retirement-statement

  • Guest

    Bruce Jenkins is a hypocrite. Granted that sports “writers” are just overgrown fanboys but these guys want to uphold sports as some kind of grand activity that produces heros we should all admire. At the same time he dismisses doping as nothing to be concerned about because it adds entertainment value. He seems very, very confused. He is also very, very foolish.

  • jamie

    What is the public consensus on Lance being required to pay back money to sponsors like Nike or Trek? Regardless of his drug use did he not do what they paid him for? He sold a ton of shoes for Nike and a ton of bikes for Trek, was a billboard for USPS and gave them all great return of their investment. I don’t think he owes anything to any of those sponsors. Now money from the Tour or other race winnings, that is a different story

  • Karen

    Armstrong hurt a lot of other athletes. His actions were self-centered. No consequences! Compare that to Aaron Swartz of Reddit who helped a lot of people. The government went after him with a vengeance. So sad. Something is very wrong with our perspectives.

  • johnqeniac

    Lance Williams – ‘hard stories to get’. Your apologist for sports writers is pitiful. All investigative journalism is about ‘hard to get stories’! Williams is just a fanboy, not a journalist.

  • Fco Barba

    The Chronicle Sport writer is a great person to have adjudicating sports recognitions morally, ethically and practically.
    By his reasoning Rosy Ruiz should be recognized as a better marathoner that Greta Weitz: after all flagging and and using cabs in New York should be accepted as a part of the sport period.

  • Pax

    Only dopes dope.

  • John Tweed

    I’m not surprised. This behavior is symptomatic of the malaise in the upper echelons of corporate society that seems to put money before morals. Armstrong is just following their lead.
    It’s all about greed and money. Look at how much he’s accumulated while lying about the doping. That wealth was gained at the expense of the people who might of won the races honestly.

    One aspect of society that makes this nation great is the Rule of Law.
    Sport is not a special case that can allow special pleading because it makes for good entertainment.

  • Mrogers

    I think Mr. Coyle was good in parts, disingenuous in others..he too benefited financially in all this,, as much as Sally Jenkins. His assertion that “other cyclists” said he would have none without doping is unsupported pablum..what is known is that all the top spots doped including lance and thatlance trained hard and smart in addition to that Mr. Coyles comment did what bad journalism does….overreach. Lance was top ranked cross cyclist before TDF. the fact that he did not win/finish the first few TDFs is not uncommon for future champions in the sport (can you say Greg Lemond?) to say he would have won none is a bit of sour grapes I think from cyclists. this mental shorthand on Coyles part simplifies too much and speaks to hyperbolic media on his part

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor