Viewpoint: Armstrong may be product of competitive society, but he’s still wrong

By Ashley Davis

Lance Armstrong wasn’t a particular hero of mine. I never found his sport or his image fully captivating, or his answers “riveting,” as Oprah said in an interview.

However, he’s much more interesting now his dirty laundry has been aired and is continuing to be aired all over network television. Though I am uninterested in the sport of cycling, I do respect it, and I respect the man.

For those of you who don’t know, Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour De France medals and is under continued investigation for participating in and leading a corrupt doping ring among his fellow elite cyclists.

Not only is he under major fire from the press, anti-doping officials have imposed a life-long ban from sanctioned events. He is also facing several lawsuits.

After this controversy was brought to light, my first instinct was disgust and disdain. I was on the verge of disparaging him in my blog and to my friends in our inevitable debates.

But something stopped me: a tiny whisper in my head that said, “Of course.”

Of course this happened. Of course this will continue to happen. Why would you think this isn’t to be expected?

Our world refuses to slow down. Maybe it’s human nature, or maybe just physics. Our planet is hurtling through space at thousands of miles per hour and the process of human evolution has followed suit.

There is no slowing down or moving backwards in whatever field you work in. People will always expect faster, better results at any cost.

Lance Armstrong is a prime example of this mentality.

We live in a world where people, especially athletes, would do anything to keep up with the pack, or, better yet, surpass the pack completely. In this case, I see Lance Armstrong as a symbol of America’s increasingly competitive society.

Beyond the symbolic implications of his situation, I am furthermore absolutely opposed to the amount of coverage and sympathy he has been getting from Oprah and her fans. Historically, America has been very forgiving of public figures that have done horrible things even beyond your run-of-the-mill mistake.

Nixon, R-Kelly, Michael Vick, Martha Stewart, etc. all went through the wringer during their scandals.

However, their shame was a little too short lived in my opinion.

In a matter of days, Lance Armstrong will be forgiven and forgotten by the general public, and he will continue on with his life as an elite cyclist.

Yes, the powers-that-be have banned him from competing for the time being, but there are already talks of the ban being lifted in his case.

And now, he’s playing the sympathy card on Oprah to save face. In the latest interview, Armstrong brought up his son, who staunchly defended him throughout the case. With a wavering voice and a hint of tears, Armstrong continued to express regret for the sake of his son.

So what! That doesn’t mean he deserves pity or sympathy. Situations like these only reinforce the sad fact that the more famous you are, the easier it is to get out of trouble.

Ashley Davis is a senior journalism major from Killeen. She is a copy editor for the Baylor Lariat.