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The True Scandal of Lance Armstrong: Enough Free Passes for Role Models

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Another day. Another scandal. Another high-profile celebrity headed to Oprah’s couch to express contrition and try to resuscitate his image. Today it’s Lance Armstrong, but tomorrow it will be someone else -- which is why I believe it’s time to say enough is enough. No more free passes for our children’s role models.


I don’t know Lance Armstrong and apparently nobody else really did either. What I knew was the same cynically constructed fairy tale that he sold all of us: the inspirational story of a young cyclist who nearly died from cancer and was resurrected through the miracles of modern medicine and his own indomitable spirit. The dedicated, focused, gifted and meticulous athlete who pushed himself beyond all barriers of pain to achieve an unprecedented seven Tour de France victories.

But now the truth is finally coming out and the magical tale has lost its luster -- it turns out that his critics were right all along. Lance Armstrong was actually a doper; a cheat who betrayed his sport, his fans, the cancer survivors who looked up to him as a modern-day superman. So recently he sat with Oprah to tape an interview and we all must now wait for Thursday’s airing to judge for ourselves the sincerity of his “confession.”

But I don’t need to see crocodile tears or listen to words carefully constructed by crisis PR experts. Enough is enough. Lance Armstrong should be held fully accountable and we shouldn’t be so quick to forgive the horrible offenses that he committed. He can only look skyward for true forgiveness.

We owe it to today’s youth not to so quickly forgive Lance Armstrong and not to just sweep this whole sordid saga under the rug and let him move on with his life. Americans are a remarkably forgiving society and everyone makes mistakes, but this is something altogether different. A lie of this magnitude cannot be permitted to be trivialized.


Lance is just the last in a string of public figures that let us all down -- and then are given a free pass. Bill Clinton violated one of the ten10 commandments, inside the Oval Office and then lied under oath and to the public about it. Today he has been redeemed, and is revered by the Democratic Party. Tiger Woods admitted to a series of infidelities and, while his golf name has never returned to the same stratospheric levels, has largely moved on.

If we give Lance Armstrong a pass then the real message we send our children is that you can make hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships and achieve world-wide fame by cheating -- you just have to make sure that you don’t get caught or you might be embarrassed.

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