Here is where the case against Armstrong is currently. Less than a month ago Armstrong gave up his fight against the agency responsible for drug testing of US athletes in hundreds of sports - USADA. His reasoning was that after over a decade of fighting he simply came to the conclusion that "enough is enough." He felt like the arbitration process was unfair to him and that USADA was out to get him in an "unconstitutional witch hunt."
I'll leave it to the legal experts to discuss the details of the USADA process - but, a federal judge did throw out his case against USADA just before Armstrong gave up his fight. So - according to the US legal system - the arbitration process that Armstrong signed onto as a professional cyclist and triathlete is fair.
The outcome of Armstrong ending his fight with USADA is that he has a lifetime ban from all cycling and triathlon competitions. He can't even coach or be part of the management of a professional cycling team. So how is he able to race at a Rev3 event - a company that is trying to position itself as a rival to Ironman events? The event can no longer be an official USAT (the official governing body of the triathlon in the US) - which means they had to find alternative insurance for the event and anyone who was racing the event to get USAT points is now out of luck.
But it's all for the kids with cancer! Some things are bigger than doping!
Just doing a brief count - I have known at least 7 close relatives or friends who have had cancer. I even had a teammate and friend in college who died of cancer when he was in his Junior year at the age of 21. He was just a year younger than me. He was one of those people who you knew would have done a lot of good in this world. His name was Sean Earl - the Loyola cross-country invitational is now named in his memory.
Since Armstrong gave up his fight in August there have been many articles asking whether he is a villain or a hero - or maybe both. Rick Reilly of ESPN came down solidly on the hero side. He even asked people all over to wear yellow the Friday after this all went down in honor of Armstrong.
Nice sentiment - but I think that people who think this way are not understanding the depths of lying, threatening, and slandering that Armstrong has done over the last 20 years to keep the truth from coming out. So which Armstrong is the real Armstrong?
I was listening to This American Life on NPR a few months ago. They were talking about a psychological measurement on sociophathic disorder. They talked about how many sociopaths live very normal lives. CEO's even score higher on the scale than the average person. Here is a list of common behavioral traits of sociopaths (from - checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html)
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
- Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
- Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
- Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
- Incapable of real human attachment to another
- Unable to feel remorse or guilt
- Extreme narcissism and grandiose
- May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
Being a sociopath also explains how he could both ruthlessly manipulate teammates into keeping this doping secret and at the same time create a huge organization committed to fighting cancer. Both of these activities had the same goal - to show his greatness to the world.
He has used the raw emotions of people with cancer for 20 years in order to "seek out situations where his behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired." That is sick.
All of this always has been and always will be about Armstrong. Cancer fundraising won't collapse with Armstrong out of the public eye. Foundations will continue to thrive - hospitals will continue to flourish. People give money for cancer research because they have intimate experience with the disease - not because of Lance Armstrong's "character."
I will always remember that when Lance Armstrong was at his lowest - Rev3tri partnered with him and helped him to improve his image. Overall they seemed like a pretty cool racing series - but, I know that I'll never race at one of their events. They say that they are all about the athlete. Just think about the pro's (some who have spoken out against Armstrong) having to race past the "Go Lance!" signs. Think how that will make them feel about how seriously the public takes their health and safety. The message is clear - dope up - and maybe one day the fans will be holding up signs with your name.