What's Buzzing:

If Lance Armstrong is coming clean, he owes hundreds of apologies to those he bullied

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports

So now, according to the New York Times, Lance Armstrong is considering coming clean and admitting the entire thing was a lie; that he did indeed use performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions to win all those Tour de France titles.

And this would be news to … um, anyone?

Certainly not the anti-doping officials and cycling administrators who the Times reports Armstrong has been working with to set up a potential deal that might allow him to return to competitive athletics, mostly ironman triathlons.

View gallery


Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year. (AP)

Armstrong's lawyer would only cryptically tell the Times, "I do not know about [coming clean]. I suppose anything is possible, for sure."

Here's guessing this is less about the thrill of competition and more about Armstrong realizing that fewer and fewer people are paying attention to him, let alone believing his fable. Here's guessing he has come to the stark realization that there isn't any other way out of that sink hole. It's better to be a humble hypocrite than a nearly forgotten joke.

It's been painfully obvious that Lance Armstrong cheated for years and years now. There have been mountains of evidence, countless media investigations, a parade of former friends and teammates turned accusers and finally a USADA-produced 1,000 page report that is astounding in its detail.

And there's been, perhaps most damning of all, the fact that just about every other cyclist of note during Armstrong's generation was busted for doping. So to believe the Armstrong fairy tale is to believe that in a sport full of healthy cheats, it was the clean cancer survivor that was somehow the best.

It never made any sense.

There were plenty of people out there, myself included, who simply didn't care. Cycling is a dirty sport. He still had to beat the others. It wasn't clean, but it may have been a relatively even playing field. Besides, what he did off the bike was more important. He inspired so many people across the cancer wards of the world. He raised spirits. He raised money. He raised awareness.

[Related: Olympic cyclist killed in biking accident]

Of all the atrocities to get angry about, a guy who was less than honest so he could ride his bike real fast around France ranks pretty low.

The thing is, climbing up from the depths of chemotherapy to the point you could get back in a peloton racing up the Alps is a heck of a story. But Armstrong could never leave it at that, and that's why this has to be more than just an admission, it needs to be an apology. Hundreds of them, actually.

They say it's never too late for the truth, but this case may test that theory.

Throughout Armstrong's career, he hasn't just denied he doped, he's tried to destroy anyone who suggested otherwise. He and his henchmen have bullied, intimidated and threatened. They attacked reputations and fought dirty in ways that belied what he was supposed to be about. Everyone was just a jealous liar. Careers were ruined.

[Related: British paper sues Lance Armstrong]

There was ugliness like the time Betsy Andreu, wife of longtime Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, got a voicemail declaring, "I hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head." That was after she'd already been dragged through the mud and declared a vindictive nut.

"A playground bully,'' one of Armstrong's old teammates, Jonathan Vaughters, once described him.

So now it's all forgiven? Now he just wants to say, OK, I did it?

Maybe this is a redemption story if he acted differently in the past. Maybe it would be easier to understand that this was a lie that got so big, with so many people counting on it to be true, that he couldn't get out from under it. Maybe this would be easy.

View gallery


Lance Armstrong didn't hold back in going after his accusers. (AP)

But after all the damage was done, after all the times his lawyers napalmed someone's reputation, after all the times Armstrong took the people closest to him, ones who understood the truth and tried to bury them, this can't be just admitting to something that any thinking person long ago was fairly certain he did.

Only his sizeable ego could think that's enough.

No, if this is a new day for Lance, then it needs to be about someone other than just Lance.

This needs to be about making amends, publicly and painfully, one by one, name by name, to all the people he and his machine tried to run over, all the people whose crime was merely wanting to acknowledge the truth long before the schoolyard bully ran so short of friends he too finally realized it was his only option.

NFL video from Yahoo! Sports

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
New Chiefs coach Andy Reid must find a more effective QB
Work cut out for Mets after dealing away R.A. Dickey
Kobe Bryant rejoins Twitter after long hiatus
Y! Movies: 'Skyfall' is second most mistake-filled movie of 2012

View Comments (3123)
  • Super Bowl 50 party circuit shifts into overdrive

    Super Bowl 50 party circuit shifts into overdrive

    By Steve Keating SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - With a Super Bowl 50 party circuit that could bring rock stars to their knees hitting overdrive on Saturday the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers may be the only ones well-rested for the NFL's title … More »

    Reuters - 36 minutes ago
  • All Blacks edge Australia at the death to win inaugural Sydney title

    By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - Teenager Rieko Ioane scored a dramatic last-gasp try to give New Zealand a 27-24 win over Australia in a thrilling final on Sunday and dash hopes of a home triumph in the inaugural Sydney Sevens. With time … More »

    Reuters - 53 minutes ago
  • Korean skier earns applause at 2018 Olympics test event

    Korean skier earns applause at 2018 Olympics test event

    JEONGSEON, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean skier Kim Hyeon-tae had a modest goal in his World Cup debut: to finish within five seconds of the winner. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 6 minutes ago
  • Australia pledges aid to help Tonga, Pacific with Zika

    By Morag MacKinnon PERTH, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Australia pledged up to A$500,000 ($354,000) in aid for its Pacific island neighbours on Sunday to help combat the spread of the Zika virus after an outbreak in Tonga last week raised concern in the … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 31 minutes ago
  • Janka wins super-G at 2018 Olympics test by large margin

    Janka wins super-G at 2018 Olympics test by large margin

    Former overall World Cup champion Carlo Janka won the super-G test event for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics by a large margin Sunday, while several pre-race favorites failed to finish their runs in a race that was much more challenging than the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 42 minutes ago