“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.
He was, in his own words, “an arrogant prick” who cheated and doped (apparently one of many in a sport that has some serious problems with doping). This was wrong.
When he felt threatened that his lies would be discovered, he lashed out and bullied and sued people. This was really wrong.
Is he a human being who has a lot of apologies to make and some serious atonement in his future?
Did he also survive stage IV testicular cancer (to his abdomen, lungs and brain) and lived to tell about it?
Is he also still a stage IV testicular cancer survivor who is an incredible athlete, able to train and compete in grueling professional level physical competition?
You can't take that away from him. It's not just about the drugs, those drugs alone did not make him an athlete. Those drugs enhanced his performance and endurance (there is not enough EPO, testosterone or corticosteroids in the world that you could inject into my big butt that would get me to that level of athleticism).
Has he raised 80 to 500 million dollars (depending on the report you read) for cancer research and survivorship programs that have benefited millions of cancer survivors?
Did he give hope to millions of cancer survivors and put a very much needed public “face” on the war vs cancer?
Did he make the U.S. government, NCI and our whole culture take a more serious look at the needs of cancer survivors?
He was one of the first to remind the world that it is not enough to just "get through" cancer treatment, that you are allowed to live and thrive again too. Survivorship has long been on the tongues of those in the oncology community, but Lance and Livestrong brought it to the forefront.
You have to take the good with the bad, and for all the shock and outrage over what he did (what many other professional athletes are doing every day), he’s also done a lot of good and perhaps he is not done “doing good” in his lifetime.
The whole situation is sad, and fascinating at the same time. A cancer survivor uses drugs that are all legally prescribed and commercially available to cancer patients everyday to "enhance" his performance aka to cheat. It sounds like a movie.
I think if you work in the "cancer world" or if you are a cancer survivor, your feelings are a little different than the average bear. You're either:
1) grateful for his contribution to the cancer world and so you can forgive him a little more easily,
2) he was your hero because he survived stage IV testicular cancer and not because he won a bike race
3) you are most upset because you feel betrayed, as you are the people who needed to believe in him more than anyone.
4) or....you feel a combination of all of these things.
In the Oprah interview, Lance says that he really never considered it cheating. Oprah looks on disdainfully and incredulously and asks Lance why did he not "consider it cheating"? And basically without saying it exactly this way, he tells the audience that almost everyone is using these drugs in international cycling, so that is why he doesn't consider it cheating. In his own mind he felt that the playing field was level because everyone in cycling blood dopes. In a surreal way, you can almost understand where he is going with this.
Perhaps when all of the media hoopla ends, maybe there is something to be learned from this. Perhaps this regimen of drugs and blood doping should be examined by scientists to see if it could benefit those with testicular cancer in the future. How has Lance stayed so healthy and disease free after all of these years? Or maybe they find that the side effects of this combination of drugs could cause his cancer to recur. I don’t know and neither does anyone else right now, only time and science can tell. It would be interesting to look at.
To quote Oprah, "Here's what I know for sure":
Too much of our government money has been and will be spent on this whole thing.
U.S. Postal Service? Go deliver the mail. Why the hell did our U.S. Postal service ever sponsor a cycling team? They are the U.S. Postal service for God's sake. You could have given those millions you spent sponsoring a freakin cycling team, to hardworking, honest, employees or retirees for their dwindling pension fund.
Those USADA dudes want to be FBI agents. You guys need to get your shit together and you need to treat all athletes the same. Find an accurate test to test them ALL and then stick to it. If they cheat: fine them, revoke their title, punish them at the time of the incident. 15 years later and retroactive testing for stuff that you didn't know about at the time seems kind of crazy. Take a blood or urine test the day of the race. Allow 1 month for full processing. If you didn't find it then, you move on. If the athlete manages to outwit you by stopping doping 1.25 days before a race, then hire a decent toxicologist who can catch it or just give up. Call CSI if you have to : ) This means cycling, football, basketball, baseball etc. Everyone is tested the same way. You go after everyone the same way.
Stop wasting your time and our taxpayers money hauling these athletes into congressional hearings. Congress and Senate members....you have enough to do that you aren't getting done to worry about this stuff.
Or...do we just all accept that all professional athletes use drugs?
Finally Oprah, you only have one decent show on your whole lame network. Here is your highest rated show and you can't repeat it a few times for those of us who were working and didn't realize it was a two-parter? You absolutely have to have on 10 straight episodes of something called "Usual Suspects" Season 3???? Puh-leeze.
As for me, I will continue to have hope that Lance bounces back. You cannot experience cancer and not learn something. I believe deep down his work with Livestrong and this whole experience will make him a better person. He was the founder, we cannot forget that. You cannot spend time working with cancer patients and not become a better person. I'll be pulling for you Lance. I hope Livestrong which is truly a great organization can survive this.
Because after all....