Lance Armstrong might “confess” to doping charges to rehabilitate his image

Back in August of last year, the US Anti-Doping Agency’s years-investigation into Lance Armstrong and his team seemed to culminate in a rather spectacular turn of events. After several of Lance’s former teammates confessed to doping and claimed Lance had been doping for years as well, Lance announced that he was no longer going to participate in the USADA’s investigation, which led to the USADA stripping Lance of his seven Tour de France titles. Legal experts have been weighing in since then, and the basic gist is that Lance is in a lot of trouble, any way you look at it. His former endorsement partners can and might sue Lance (many had anti-doping clauses in their contracts), plus Lance’s charity, Livestrong, is in serious jeopardy, and Lance had to step down from the board (of his own charity!). Plus, there’s just a slew of criminal and financial issues for Lance.

So what will 2013 bring for Lance? Perhaps the ability to make some kind of f—ked up “fresh start”. The New York Times reported a very curious thing over the weekend – this is very much a “trial balloon” sent out by Lance’s people to gauge the public reaction to a possible new media strategy: Lance might publicly “confess” to doping to save (and then rehabilitate) his image. Eh.

Lance Armstrong, who this fall was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and barred for life from competing in all Olympic sports, has told associates and antidoping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation. He would do this, the people said, because he wants to persuade antidoping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career.

For more than a decade, Armstrong has vehemently denied ever doping, even after antidoping officials laid out their case against him in October in hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony from teammates, e-mail correspondence, financial records and laboratory analyses.

When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, Tim Herman, Armstrong’s longtime lawyer, said, “Lance has to speak for himself on that.”

Armstrong has been under pressure from various fronts to confess. Wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity he founded after surviving testicular cancer, have been trying to persuade him to come forward so he could clear his conscience and save the organization from further damage, one person with knowledge of the situation said.

Several legal cases stand in the way of a confession, the people familiar with the situation said. Among the obstacles is a federal whistle-blower case in which Armstrong and several team officials from his United States Postal Service cycling team are accused of defrauding the government by allowing doping on the squad when the team’s contract with the Postal Service clearly stated that any doping would constitute default of their agreement.

Herman said the option to confess to antidoping officials was not currently on the table. However, the people familiar with the situation said Armstrong, 41, was in fact moving toward confessing and had even been in discussions with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong had met with Travis Tygart, the agency’s chief executive, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams, according to one person briefed on the situation.

Armstrong has hopes of competing in triathlons and running events, but those competitions are often sanctioned by organizations that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code, under which Armstrong received his lifetime ban. According to the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete might be eligible for a reduced punishment if he fully confesses and details how he doped, who helped him dope and how he got away with doping. But a reduced lifetime ban might decrease only to eight years or four, at best, antidoping experts said.

Armstrong is also facing two other civil lawsuits, one that involves the Dallas-based insurance company SCA Promotions, which is trying to recoup millions of dollars it covered when Armstrong won multiple Tours. The company withheld a $5 million bonus from Armstrong after he won the 2004 Tour because of doping accusations that surfaced in the book “L.A. Confidentiel: Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong,” which was published in France. Armstrong sued the company, and the case was settled for $7.5 million. SCA Promotions is now asking for $12 million back — the $7.5 million plus $4.5 million it paid for Armstrong’s other Tour victories.

Armstrong is also being sued by the British newspaper The Sunday Times for more than $1.5 million over the settlement of a libel case. In that matter, the newspaper had paid Armstrong nearly $500,000 after it published claims from “L.A. Confidentiel” that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

But what worries Armstrong and his lawyers most, two of the people with knowledge of the situation said, is that he could face charges of perjury if he confesses because in sworn testimony in the SCA case he said he had never doped.

Before coming forward, Armstrong would need assurances from the Justice Department that he would not be prosecuted for those crimes, those two people said.

Herman said he has plans to discuss Armstrong’s next move when Armstrong returns from Hawaii, where he has been spending time with his family out of the public eye. He has been in limbo since antidoping officials issued their report on him. A week after the report was released, Armstrong’s sponsors, including Nike and other longtime supporters, abandoned him. Soon after, he cut all ties with his charity.

“He’s doing O.K. for a guy that has had his livelihood and his life torn from him, but he’s very strong,” Herman said.

[From The NYT]

The NYT also says that Lance is skittish about whether or not the Department of Justice is going to get involved, and I’m assuming Lance is really just trying to figure out the best way to completely limit the damage. I kind of think it’s a pipe dream for Lance if he thinks he’s going to be able to in any way rehabilitate his image, or to even be able to get out of this mess without doing jail time (for perjury, maybe even for fraud) and huge financial losses, not to mention the complete loss of respect by the public at large. He became the face of the “falsely accused of doping” for a decade, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Just to give you a taste of how angry people are – and how angry they will continue to be – I was watching CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday (it’s the Howard Kurtz media-watchdog show), and Kurtz (who is normally mild-mannered and wonkish) was pissing mad about this NYT story. Kurtz called it out for what it was – Lance trying to see what the public reaction would be to a full (or partial) confession. Kurtz recalled the times he interviewed Armstrong and said that the stunning realization that Armstrong had repeatedly and unblinkingly LIED HIS FACE OFF was not pleasant, and a mea culpa tour would not cover the betrayal many feel. Kurtz also published a piece on the Armstrong thing here, at The Daily Beast.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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72 Responses to “Lance Armstrong might “confess” to doping charges to rehabilitate his image”

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  1. Angelic 20 says:

    He is just stupid to think he can spin this or control the damage, it’s too late for that. He was the face of cycling and France was so proud of him, he embarrassed his country and his sport there is no coming out of it. He should just go away and hide, no one wants to see him or hear him,I feel so bad for his family and children. They have to suffer the consequences of his actions and carry the shame he brought on them .

    • Dog Obsessed Girl says:

      My understanding is that the people & officials of France & the Tour de France never liked him at all.
      I think he could be a great resource for sports about how to manipulate systems that are in place. Cyclists are not surprised by any of this and see him as just the best in the business. He was never ever alone in any performance-enhancing. He was just the best at it and with the system presently in place he never failed a test.
      He was tested more often than any other cyclist by far, during races and outside of competition, and within USADA’s own system, he never failed.

      • Sam says:

        Actually, he has tested positive. He tested positive during one of his first Tours. His massage therapist testified under oath that she witnessed Armstrong and the team’s doctor writing a back-dated prescription for an anabolic cream used to treat saddle sores, which would give him a valid excuse. But he absolutely did test dirty. The distinction is that he always managed to have an excuse, which now are known to be lies.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes he has tested positive numerous times. One was covered up by a major payment by Lance. At least one was, I should say. The extent of his deception is just mind-boggling.

        And this latest move shows me that he isn’t even close to being humbled.

      • Dog Obsessed Girl says:

        According to testimonies, he didn’t test positive numerous times; supposedly at least two. But again, under the system in place, people took money to cover up A sample results or contaminate a B sample. He is not alone in the “dirtiness” of the sport. It runs through all participants: riders, team managers, team doctors, labs, and USADA officials.

    • booboochile says:

      someone needs to call django on his ass.

  2. brin says:

    I don’t see how that will rehabilitate his image.

  3. Ms Kay says:

    Aye good luck Lance, you don’t have Bill Clinton lucky star here, so I must say you have a shot in hell with your mea culpa…

    • mln76 says:

      No comparasion to Bill Clinton. Silly to even bring him up. Lance cheated his way into the spotlight. He would be nothing without the drugs. He then perpetrated a decade long scam to keep himself in the spotlight out of narcissm all the while painting himself as a victim. Clinton is a brillant man with a weakness for women. He told a stupid lie that will mar his political career but it wasn’t the basis for his success.

    • Chickenlishus says:

      I understand what you are saying without getting all ridiculously “deep.” He just isn’t going to recover from this, even with luck/former respect/etc. Jeez, people!

  4. MichelleR says:

    If he testified that he didn’t use…wouldn’t that be perjury and couldn’t he go to jail. Marion Jones went to jail because of that. Just love that he’s testing the water first.

  5. Maria says:

    he is living in a world of lies. for him thats the reality so he might not even understand why people are mad.

    there is nothing worse than forced apologies or apologies just made to get an advantage.

    • Lizzie K says:

      Agree about the world of lies he lives in. And it is just surreal to me that he appears to think he can still “compete” in triathlons, etc., if he comes clean about being a cheater. Dude doesn’t understand what competition is. He’s just into ego-stroking.

  6. OhDear says:

    He needs to go away. Though if a fellow POS Chris Brown can still have a career, guess Armstrong figured it’s worth a shot.

  7. poppy says:

    if he had come clean about it a few years ago and just said oops, sowee, ‘murica could have moved on and given him a pass. we’re a very generous people when it comes to those that f*ck up, see blohan, michael jackson, oj simpson, list is sooo long. people still willing to work with them despite all the negative, hoping to be the thing that brings them back from the brink of disaster.
    yeah, his window passed in 2001-2012. so many chances to do the right thing but ignorant and greedy as f*ck. like it was never about the wife, or the bike, or the tour, or the kids, or the cancer, or anything but his big fat cheating ego. he is horrible and i am embarrassed for his children to have such a lying cheating sell-out as a father.
    i hope no one ever gives him another chance ever. EVER. poppy judgement hammer has fallen. no chance for you lance armstrong.

  8. L says:

    This is typical Lance behavior.

    No, I don’t think he’ll ever admit to it. The guy’s ego is WAY to big to do that. This is the same guy who tweeted this picture after the USADA ruling about being ‘back in austin and laying around’ He’s a douche.
    http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/article_large/public/2012/11/12/lance-armstrong_0.jpg

    Maybe if during his first retirement he had said something. And not come back to ride with Astana, MAYBE he would have been able to get by-but now? No freaking way.

  9. Meredith says:

    “He’s doing O.K. for a guy that has had his livelihood and his life torn from him, but he’s very strong,” Herman (Lance Armstrong’s lawyer) said.”

    Well, isn’t that tragic (sarcasm). It’s legal-whore comments like this that make me embarassed to tell people that I practice law for a living. Does the NYT think we can’t see this for the team Armstrong PR crap that it is?

    • littlestar says:

      My thoughts exactly. My eyes practically popped out of my head when I read that line. I cannot believe they’d actually try and garner sympathy from us after all that Lance has done. Why should we feel sorry for him for losing everything? He lied and cheated to get what he used to have, and not only that, many people have said that Lance Armstrong is just a bad person at heart. Rude, ignorant, and arrogant to everyone.

      He needs to go away and STAY away.

  10. keats says:

    I believed he was innocent for WAY too long. So now these stories just embarrass me.

    • T.C. says:

      You’re not alone. I still believed in his innocence until just right now reading this article. So depressed that it seems to be true. Oh Lance why? I can’t forgive him if he comes out now after all this time. People like us who kept believing in him despite the reports.

      I don’t think he should be able to avoid jail time. If Marion Jones went to jail so should he. I’m sure his group of lawyers will get him out of it in exchange for giving up the secrets as to how he got away with it. Still not fair.

    • Lady D says:

      Me too Keats. Embarrassed that I ever stuck up for him.
      Lance met my little nephew in Calgary. My nephew was the youngest person in Canada at the time to develop testicular cancer. (He was 22 mos). Lance came and met him in the hospital because they shared a cancer and he was raising awareness and funds at that time. I used to think he was a great guy. Instead he’s just another dishonest individual sharing our world.

  11. lem says:

    Doesn’t our gov’t (and DOJ) have something better to do? I’m not defending what Armstrong or other athletes have done, but jesus christ on a crutch, don’t we have bigger fish to fry?!?!

    • Annie says:

      Bigger fish to fry? Did you even bother reading the article at all? There’s a huge list of reasons why this idiot needs to be prosecuted. He broke the law. He lied under oath. He made millions of dollars from signing contracts with companies who had anti-doping clauses. He dared to sue tabloids who exposed his doping AND WON. He lied to people’s faces constantly. He cheated his way into world glory. He used illegal substances and methods. He became rich from cheating and taking unfair advantages against clean athletes. His charity is under fire. Do you have any idea of all the money involved here? Millions upon millions. All the resources wasted on investigating this crook for over a decade.

      Seriously people, don’t comment if you don’t bother read the full story. And don’t drop any dumb comment just for the sake of commenting.

      I hope Lance loses all his money and goes to jail. He’s shameless.

      • bluhare says:

        Meh. My husband follows professional cycling and everyone who does knew he doped. They ALL dope. He was just the most high profile one, that’s all, and as a result is paying a higher price for it.

        Yes, he’s an a-hole of the first order. You aren’t as competitive as he is without being one. But every professional cyclist who’s won the Tour recently has doped. The only one who isn’t tainted yet is Bradley Wiggins.

        So I don’t get too worked up about it. Basically, he was competing on an even playing field as everyone else was doping as well. They had to in order to win. Lance got ratted out by others trying to mitigate *their* damage, so to call him out for trying to mitigate his is a bit hypocritical.

      • Amelia says:

        Allez Wiggo!!
        Hehe, sorry :)
        I don’t follow pro cycling religiously, although since the Games I’ve been keeping more of an eye on it.
        However, as someone who is a general sport lover this entire debacle makes me quite sad – a sporting hero revealed to be a cheat. Christ, how on *earth* did he get away with it so long? It worries me that there could be others out there tainting their sport.

      • bluhare says:

        Amelia, you can be certain there are world class athletes cheating at their sport so they can win. Without a doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wiggins does either. Sorry, I know he’s a national hero!

    • Lem says:

      Technically the USPS is federal. Somehow it’s both public and government owned and without getting into all of that the USPS supported a team based solely on the back of Lance (or the worse Bruyneel) so they spent millions sponsoring him and defending lawsuits.
      Basically- he’s a government sponsored lier. I say they have some obligation to sic him.

      • Lem says:

        From the NYT article linked:

        “[...] Among the obstacles is a federal whistle-blower case in which Armstrong and several team officials from his United States Postal Service cycling team are accused of defrauding the government by allowing doping on the squad when the team’s contract with the Postal Service clearly stated that any doping would constitute default of their agreement.”

  12. Riana says:

    Let it go Lance, it’s over.

    When I read he sued a newspaper who accused him of the very crimes he committed for some million dollar amount I lost all sympathy for the guy. One thing to do this in secret and hope you get lucky. Another to sue someone for telling a fact.

    They are now counter-suing him I believe, good for them.

    Admit it, but it won’t save your career or future in the least.

    • Gia says:

      bingo! And if he admits to doping they can due him for every penny out of pocket and then some from that lawsuit. He also would owe an insurance company he sued a while back for something like $6 million. It’s a huge mess. This guy has been lying officially, legally and on the record for YEARS. He’s screwed.

  13. cranky_chica says:

    What Lance doesn’t realize is that the American public doesn’t want him back. Being out of the adoration spotlight is killing him. Not being able to do sanctioned triathlons while dragging in huge personal appearance fees is hurting his last remaining income stream.

    If he has any money left, he needs to invest wisely, drastically cut back his living expenses and figure out a new way to make a living. Maybe he should manage his bicycle shop.

    My heart goes out to his children. He can’t be an easy guy to live with during this time. I wonder how this experience will color their view of life?

    • NerdMomma says:

      So true, so true. We don’t want him back, he is not our hero, we’ve moved on. It’s not the doping, it’s the lying. It’s always the lying that people hate the most, and he did it for SO LONG. And he did it so hard, suing those who told the truth. I thought he had some nerve, sticking by his claims of being clean all those years, but I didn’t realize he’d taken down other people and companies while he did that.

  14. Sam says:

    Lance wants to get back into sports. He’s always struck me as a type that isn’t really satisfied with his life overall and constantly feels the need to keep doing more and getting more achievements.

    I watched the CNN special about him. He routinely tried to destroy the careers and reputations of any person who tried to tell the truth about him. Personally, for him to admit it now would make him scum to me. He ruined (or tried to ruin) so many careers to defend himself when he knew it wasn’t true. What a lowlife.

    • Gia says:

      There is an episode of A&E’s Intervention where a young man who made it onto the US Postal Service Team (a huge deal)was kicked off at the request of Lance because the kid cracked a joke about him looking puggy or something ridiculous. His life was destroyed and he turned to crack. It was heart breaking and I hope he feels a little redemption after seeing Lance go down.

      • Sam says:

        I never saw that, but I hope that the poor guy gets some satisfaction from this whole episode. I was thinking specifically of Emma O”Reilly, who was a massage therapist that testified about Lance altering prescriptions to beat drug tests. Lance publicly called her a prostitute, implied she had sex with team members, the works. I hope everyone who can sue him does.

  15. Nanea says:

    Lance has had the chance to confess for 15 years, but instead chose to lie and cheat, and many people were willing to believe him.

    I think he should donate every single penny he ever made to a real charity, not to some scam like Livestrong that finances his lifestyle.

    And then maybe he should be made to do serious work with e.g. kids for the next ten years or so instead of going to prison, because in prison his keep would have to be financed by the general tax-paying public.

  16. Lulu says:

    How did he manage to pass every drug test? Boggles the mind.

  17. aims says:

    I would think that at the highth of his popularity , there had to be apart of him that felt like a fraud. He cheated, plain and simple. His image was sold as an inspiration and he was lying the whole time. What he did was disgreatful and took an achevment away from people who really did bust their ass, trained and followed the rules. It was really unfair.

    Also since he did have cancer, i wonder what the effects of steriods can do for him. Im sure it isnt good.

  18. Gia says:

    “He’s doing O.K. for a guy that has had his livelihood and his life torn from him, but he’s very strong,” Herman said.

    This POS made his own bed.

    • DreamyK says:

      I read that and thought the same. Lance playing the Victim card. Hysterical.

      The thing is, Lance, you’re just a really mean, petty guy. I think that the movie Ted summed it up best with your bronzed testicle. You’re a joke in a movie now. Go away.

  19. Faye says:

    I think the problem is that not only did Armstrong cheat and lie about it, he was so nasty and hostile to anybody who tried to call him out on it. It should have been enough for him to just lie and leave it alone. But instead, he sued newspapers, mocked the USADA (“a bunch of stupid bureaucrats who have nothing better to do with their time”), and tried to destroy the teammate who was caught for doping and mentioned Armstrong was doping too (Floyd Landis, I think his name was)?

    The moral of the story is that if you’re going to attack others, better make darn sure you have your own house in order, or you leave yourself very vulnerable. I give you Elliot Spitzer as an example. I think Americans can forgive an “oops” a lot more than perceived arrogance.

    Regarding the charity, assuming there was no financial mismanagement, I hope there are minimal ill effects there. I’d hate to think of a decent charity suffering because of this moron.

  20. TG says:

    I only feel sorry for the children and the first wife Kristen, because I think she was in it for the right reasons. This second bimbo wife I don’t feel sorry for she was just out for a celeb and money. Cheryl Crow is so lucky and smart to have gotten away from that trash.

    I agree with @Faye also. I would like to add that according to some reports his charity doesn’t do that much for cancer patients. It gives zero dollars to research.

  21. Jaded says:

    What a pathectic move. Finally confessing to doping is like trying to put a flaccid d*ck back into a condom. I don’t think his massive ego is allowing him to understand the level of anger people feel towards him, or the ill will this has generated with sponsors, his charity and his family.

    And I agree with TG that his charity doesn’t do all that much for cancer patients.

  22. Lem says:

    I just really can’t with this ass.
    Worst excuse ever for coming clean. Sorry, potentially,
    partially, coming possibly clean .

  23. Madriani's Girl says:

    “He’s doing O.K. for a guy that has had his livelihood and his life torn from him…”

    Excuse me, but that’s HIS FAULT! He lied, cheated and bullied his way to all of those wins and he’s expecting us to feel sorry for him?????

  24. KellyinSeattle says:

    He takes himself way too serioiusly

  25. skuddles says:

    This guy has the morals of a guinea pig. First lying, then lying about lying, then admitting he lied about lying… Face it dude, you have NO cred and chances are you never will again.

  26. Esmom says:

    My take on him saying that he might confess is that he will still be able to deny doping. He could say “I confessed because that’s what they wanted me to do in order to be eligible to compete. But I still didn’t do it.”

    He is disgusting. I can only hope he spends little time with the majority of his kids and that they are safely with a morally sound parent most of the time.

  27. Cazzie says:

    “Armstrong has told associates and antidoping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career…”

    Isn’t this a confession in and of itself? I mean, what’s left to confess? Seems like he already has.

  28. midnightmoon says:

    Pro sports is just completely corrupt. So is banking, education, law enforcement, the military, corporations, politics.

    So many people KNOW that illegal crap is happening-and so few tell the truth. And when they do? Whistleblowers pay a huge price and few seem to care or stand up to protect them.

    Generalizing here-but in my observation, it’s like EVERYONE seems to be invested in keeping up appearances. For what? A paycheck? Soooo disgusting.

  29. Amy625 says:

    I don’t see how this would help his image. If he confessed Lance would have been lying for 15 years. He repeatedly said no drugs. People aren’t going to forgive, especially those who have faith in his innocence.

  30. cv2 says:

    Oh no, someone lied to Howard Kurtz.

    Where are his reports on the worse than Watergate fiasco that is a US ambasador and three other Americans killed on Obama and Sec Clinton’s watch?

    And the billion dollar giveaway to now defunct JFK Jr. phony “green” company?

    Just sayin, a bicyclist lying is not what CNN needs to report on.

    Why don’t they report on the Obama admin the way they did Bush?

    (I voted for neither, but am disgusted by the utter bias and pure lies of Howard Kurtz and the rest of the media in these Obamafissco days).

  31. RdyfrmycloseupmrDvlle says:

    His “image” sucks and its sucked for a long time. This cad left his young wife and three small children as soon as he got the first taste of fame. What sort of a person does that?? Three small children under seven??
    And, this guy was held up as some sort of hero. Ive always disliked him, always thought he was the very worst kind of opportunist.
    Far from embarrassing his family (ie his ex wife and kids). I am sure his ex wife is sagely nodding her head and feeling very vindicated by now thinking “Didnt I tell all yall he was an assh*&e?”
    This man is nothing but self obsessed on a criminal level.
    As far as Im concerned its good riddence to bad rubbish for biking.
    Go away Lance and stay away.