January 17, 2013
When Lance Armstrong met with the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last month, he hoped he might reduce his lifetime ban from elite competition for what the agency called the “most sophisticated doping program on the planet.”
As The Wall Street Journal reports, the retired cyclist argued that cheating was rampant in all pro sports, including the National Football League, and that he was being singled out for punishment.
During the tense meeting, Travis Tygart, the head of the agency, reportedly told Armstrong that if he gave his full cooperation, the ban would be eight years at best. Armstrong is accused of offenses beyond doping that include a cover-up and nearly 15 years of denials, threats and retaliations against anyone who told the truth about doping on his team, Tygart told him.
In an attempt to restore his image, Armstrong is launching a public campaign that includes a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey scheduled tonight, in which he reportedly admits to using performance-enhancing drugs.
“To rehabilitate his image, he needs to do many things, and he must do them without a quid pro quo that it will lead to any exoneration,” Len Shyles, professor of communication at Villanova University, tells the Christian Science Monitor. “He owes many apologies to many individuals and interests … he defrauded businesses and people of millions of dollars and some may have been severely damaged.”
Armstrong has apologized to the staff of the Livestrong Foundation, the charity he founded to help cancer patients, which was called the Lance Armstrong Foundation before he was stripped of his Tour de France titles and banned from cycling. During the meeting with Tygart, Armstrong reportedly said there is only “one person who holds the keys to my redemption, and that’s me.” — Greg Beaubien