PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. —
This is the second time I’ve started off a column like this.
I have oft been the one to forgive people.
I have oft had to beg for forgiveness.
And I’m not sure there’s a more powerful aspect of life than being able to forgive someone who wronged you. And yet, having watched the first part of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey tonight, I can’t help but think — how anyone could forgive this guy is inconceivable.
And it’s not because he was a complete and utter fraud and liar — no, that’s not it at all.
It’s because of the attacks he waged with on so many people who were truthful.
It’s because he lied under oath, and made the questioners look like the bad guys.
It’s because even in his moment of contrition, it looked more to me like he was angry, not at himself for the lies he purported — but because he got caught and was forced, in essence, to spill his soul to the world through Oprah.
And I’ll be honest here — I never quite understand why leagues and organizations strip titles earned. This happened a few months ago with Penn State University when the NCAA took away the university’s football wins from 1998 on. Every win they had now goes in the books as a loss, even though they were, well, wins.
And in the case of Armstrong, it makes little sense to me that his Tour de France wins were stripped. He did, after all, kind of win those races along side others who doped.
He just doped “better” than the others.
But in the court of public opinions, I could never see allowing this man to be involved in this sport again.
And ironically, again, it’s not because he doped.
Plenty of athletes have done that — have come clean — and redeemed themselves.
It’s simply because of his attitude.
During the interview, Armstrong swallowed hard numerous times. As a former teacher, I remember seeing that hard-swallow every time a student got caught in a lie. In the interview, it made me wonder just how truthful he was being with Oprah.
Couple that with the attitude, and we’ve got a most detestable, insufferable man who is sorry.
Not sorry he bullied people.
Not sorry he doped.
Not sorry he lied.
Not sorry he ruined lives.
Sorry only, however, because he was forced to tell the truth.
I can only hope he never again gets a chance to lie again. Or, for that matter, to tell the truth, too.