Drug Cheat

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Yesterday was the national holiday to commemorate the birth of Civil Rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  In my post yesterday, I said that I try to be kind every day and that I reflect on MLK Day to make sure I'm getting it right every day as he would want.

Today I prove that I've still got a lot of work to do to live Dr King's message every day and in every situation.

I have been a defender of Lance Armstrong.  I will not be an apologist.

Lance Armstrong is an admitted drug cheat.  And a liar.  And I'm not OK with that.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career.  I don't care why.  I don't care that drug use has been rampant in the sport.  I don't care that drug use was the norm throughout sport during a period of years, and may still be.  I don't care that anyone thought that since everyone else was doing it, then it was simply a part of training and riding on the professional tour.

I don't care.  I don't forgive.  I have nothing but contempt for this athlete.

Using drugs to gain a competitive advantage is cheating.  Armstrong never had an actionable positive drug test during his career, but there was plenty of suspicion.  I believed him when he said he did not use performance enhancing drugs or techniques because there was never an actionable positive control result.  I staunchly defended the athlete.  I asked for the proof...not what somebody said.  I wanted the actual proof.

Why did I do that?  Because I beat cancer nearly 20 years ago.  It wasn't a life threatening situation for me, but it was cancer and I fought it and I won.  I wanted to believe Armstrong because of that.  I wanted to believe him because he beat a life threatening cancer and became an inspiration to millions living with, through, and after cancer.  His Livestrong foundation brought support to so many.

I wanted to believe that a person could beat cancer and not just return to a life, but take that life by the balls and do extraordinary things with it.

Well, a person can do that.  People do that every day.  It takes hard work.  It takes effort.  It takes a fierce will and determination.   I've made my life extraordinary for me, for my friends, and for my family.  I did it honestly by following the rules.

Lance Armstrong isn't just another drug cheat.  He isn't just another in a long list of liars.  He's a first class, grade A asshat for the years of self-serving lies that misled so many fans who wanted to believe that one pure athlete could win the premier event in professional cycling seven times in a row without cheating.

Yes, I'm disappointed.  I understand now that I was naive.  He fooled so many.  He played on the sympathies of so many.  He got so many on his side.

He fooled me.  He played on my sympathies.  He got me on his side.  I defended him.

I will not apologize for him. 

Dr King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  It matters that Lance Armstrong cheated and lied about it.  So I will not be silent and let him sweep those years of lying away. 

I'm not ashamed that I spent those years defending an athlete who had no actionable positive drug tests, at least that came to light until recently.  I am embarrassed that I remained purposely blind to the circumstantial evidence that was clear to others.

I was naive.  I wanted to believe that he was clean and simply extraordinary.

A drug cheat.  A liar.  An asshat.

Don't look for forgiveness here.  


  1. Akelamalu says:

    I so agree with you. x

  1. I was not so sure as you in his profession of innocence. His confession did not surprise me, partly because I may be jaded by all things sports and celebrity. I believe that power - and fame - corrupts. We humans are all weak and none of us is imperfect. I can forgive him as it costs me nothing to do so and I, in my weakness, would also wish to be forgiven.

    Have a lovely day, Trav!

  1. I have become weary of athletes who cheat and have been heart broken by it. I realize that we are far from perfect.

    For me, far worse is the fact that he lied and repeatedly lied to all of us. One word to describe him is character flawed. I am sad for his son.

  1. This is one of the reasons I tend to most admire "fictional" characters. They don't disappoint like real people do. It was a shame. I also tended to believe him before about the whole issue.

  1. Jean(ie) says:

    I'm sorry you are angry about this, Travis. I've come to not putting people on pedestals. I know it sounds negative, but we are all imperfect beings. Sooner or later we all fail in some way, shape, or form.

    I did not know of your cancer. Yay for beating it! I'm glad you did!

    Thank you for your honest opinion.

  1. Unfortunately the scramble for dollars and celebrity has so tainted sports that now everyone is suspect from the team owners to trainers to coaches to individual athletes. This is such a shame because it sends the wrong message throughout the whole of society that only those willing to bend the rules can hope to succeed.

  1. Cherie says:

    I don't see anything inherently flawed with your position of believing in him until actual evidence was presented. It's true that power corrupts, bu it's also true that people are jealous of success and try to drag down ones that strive for excellence. It's good to people the benefit of the doubt until the facts are in

    Recently, evidence has been presented, and you changed your position. But, just because you were let down this time, don't let it keep you from standing up for the next poor slob who's being railroaded. It happens every day, but naturally the media isn't as eager to report about that.

  1. Cherie says:

    "It's good to give people the benefit of the doubt."

  1. Anonymous says:

    I must say that prior to his admission, I admired your for your objectivity. I'm afraid I was jaded and didn't believe his innocence. It makes me wonder if those who remain admirably objective and then get burned, become more guarded and jaded in the future. I know I have to moderate my general distrust, but do some people need to moderate their general trust and objectivity. Just askin' and thinkin' in the light of your post. And . . . I'm not sure your change of heart makes you less of a good/kind person. Armstrong played people for sure. GGG

  1. I am more disgusted with his bullying and threats to those who tried to expose his lies...the man needs to fade away and let others fight the fight against Cancer

  1. TopChamp says:

    I wanted to believe he was clean too. I was disappointed.