The Scum Also Rises

by Casey Barrett

The loathsome Lance Armstrong finally throws in the towel… Thereby acknowledging what the entire world already knew: that there is no one lower in all of sports… 

It’s late August, the Olympics are over, and unless you’re off racing Prince Harry drunk in a Vegas hotel pool, you’re probably enjoying some well earned time on dry land. So, let’s set swimming aside for the moment and take a dip into some real pond scum.

On Thursday, Lance Armstrong officially ended his doomed fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He refused to fight another day for his “innocence.” So, he finally admitted it? Ha. Of course not. This is Lance you’re talking about, the most arrogant sociopath ever to peddle a bicycle. While it’s clear that his lawyers finally informed him that the game was up, he’s still denying it to the end. Check out his self-righteous statement posted on his site. Actually, don’t bother. You’ve heard those impotent raging denials enough.

Whether he likes it or not, here is the disgraced company that Lance Armstrong can now officially join: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Michelle Smith, the 1990’s Chinese swim teams, the 1970’s & 80’s East German swim teams… Ok, too exhausting to continue.

Just look at the records set by that distinguished crew! He must be so proud. I mean, he insists that winning those seven Tours is enough. That’s what people will always remember, right Lance? The performance will transcend the fraud, won’t it? When I think of Barry and Mark and Sammy, all I remember is those towering homers. When I think of Ben and Marion, all I remember is super fast gold medal sprinting. And when I think of those ladies in the pool, all I recall is their world record shattering swims. And how hot they were. Who can forget that?

That’s known as sarcasm, Lance. A humorless hateful fellow like yourself might have trouble with that concept. It takes a bit of self-awareness to get the joke, and we all know that’s something you’ve always lacked.

Am I being too hard on the poor little yellow-shirted Texan? After all, he’s inspired so many with his Live Strong foundation. A foundation that’s said to have raised almost half a billion dollars in the fight against cancer. At what point does his essential soullessness cease to matter? After a billion dollars raised? After Live Strong funds the creation of a magic cancer-killing pill?

If you’ve been touched by the death rattle of cancer, and who hasn’t, this is what makes Lance so impossible to reconcile. He is the Bernie Madoff of sports. He built it all on a lie. Yet, unlike Madoff’s victims, those who bought into Lance’s Live Strong rhetoric were often profoundly inspired and strengthened. The inspiration he offered was spun from a load of shit, but does that diminish the collective power of those yellow bracelets?

To be honest, I’ve been a card-carrying member of the Lance Hating Brigade for many years. It always seemed so obvious. He always seemed like such a fundamentally bad human. Just ask any members of the press who’ve ever worked a Tour de France. All doping aside, the guy has always been a dick. But whatever, so are plenty of other sporting icons, from Joe DiMaggio to Michael Jordan. An ugly personality does not diminish those achievements for one second.

But cheating to get there? Cheating and then lying and lying and lying and lying, and then lying some more. And then tearing apart the characters of all those sad sacks who once cheated with you, and then came forward to clear their consciences?

Loathsome Lance, you took this whole dirty business to a new level. Even Barry and Roger must step aside in their quiet moments and think – Dude, I’d sue my own son, but at least I’m not Lance…