Let’s talk about Lance Armstrong talking or not talking. And let’s talk about Lance Armstrong telling his story to Oprah rather than to the sports journalists who have been dogging him for years. Talk about backpedaling. After nearly a decade of convincingly adamant denials around and in the courts of law and public opinion, and ultimately destroying his career and probably his fan base, Mr. Armstrong now seeks to restore his reputation. He wants to compete again. He wants to say he’s sorry. He wants to be heard. He wants, he wants, he wants.
His peers, his fans, his sponsors, the people he hurt along the way and his industry’s doping watchdogs all wanted him to tell the truth. But he didn’t for so very long and in such absolutes. It would appear that everything about Lance Armstrong has been a big lie wrapped in yellow. How appropriate; yellow is the color of cowardice.
Had Mr. Armstrong showed strength of character rather than the chemically managed physical strength that propelled him along his many tours de France, he might have a much better shot at crossing the finish line to redemption.
An appearance on Oprah hopefully won’t provide to be the safe confessional he probably assumed it was. Oprah is running her own race to grow her network, so scoring this interview needs to be a credible win for her. It won’t be if she soft pedals questions and lets him slide or ride through the interview without fessing up or not holding accountable for not fessing up.
Restoring a reputation requires hard work and often times a very long look in the mirror. It’s much harder and more successful when the subject of the controversy genuinely wants to make things right and tell his fans and critics that he was just plain wrong, behaved badly and hurt many along his path. Based on the noise out there, it appears that Mr. Armstrong has a great deal to overcome, including his own self-serving interests. At the end of this day, it looks like he may have won the race to the bottom.