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Regarding Lance Armstrong: Second Thoughts

So it’s now clear. Lance Armstrong admits he doped from the start, in every one of the seven Tour de France races he won. It’s a fact, not an allegation.

Back in October, I wrote that I stood with Lance, and would still wear the yellow Livestrong bracelet as a sign of respect for his contributions to cancer research, patients and their families. I meant what I wrote. But since then, the bracelet has become tarnished for me.

Call me naive if you must, and many will, but I believed Armstrong when he denied ever using performance enhancing drugs to win races. Now that he’s admitted those denials were all lies, I feel betrayed. I can’t manage to feel angry, really, just disappointed. We all want to believe in heroes, and it’s no fun to realize they’re as human as the rest of us. Yes, Armstrong lied, and cheated, and deserves to be punished for it.

Questions have arisen too abou the purpose of the Livestrong Foundation. Was it nothing more than a “yellow-washing” campaign to maintain Armstrong’s reputation? Maybe. I can’t bring myself to wear the wristband, a symbol of too much deceit.

But I still believe in the foundation, and that Armstrong’s work on its behalf actually has benefitted cancer patients and their families. The foundation does provide resources for patients and caregivers, and that shouldn’t be shortchanged by the founder’s dishonesty.

And I’m still not impressed by USADA’s tactics, or by many of those who spoke out against Armstrong. Some of them had ulterior motives of their own.

Yes, I realize I’m all over the map here, but maybe that’s as it must be. For me, the whole story is a mixed up mess, one that has shades of black, white and gray. I end up a little sadder, a little wiser, and in the words of the Who, determined that I won’t get fooled again.

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