Adam Auslund was a long time intern for multiple shows on the FOX Sports Network, but has now found his place, and a job, working for The Petros and Money Show.
Originally from Nor Cal, he’s been described as a bitter, broken sports fan ever since he experienced the rare "Hat Trick of Death" where all 3 of his teams (Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants and Carolina Panthers) all lost their respective sports’ championship game in the short span of a year and a half.
Adam now tries to look at sports from a less serious, more irreverent perspective, because that’s what helps bury the pain and keep him sober.
Since 1999 – the first year he won the Tour de France – Lance Armstrong has been accused of cheating. For the past 11 years, he’s made a career of defending these allegations aggressively and with such ferocity that it’s turned even many of his skeptics back on his side. But a week ago after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced they had the evidence necessary to strip Lance of his 7 Tour de France titles, Armstrong released this statement on his website, “There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now.”
The rest of the 869 word statement includes him explaining the toll this ongoing fight has taken on his family and his organization (Livestrong). He questions the USADA’s motives and goes on about how they’ve been singling him out, not abiding by their own rules, and that they don’t have the authority to take away his accomplishments. He also repeats that the best evidence out there on the issue is that he's never failed a drug test in his career during which he claims he's been the most tested athlete in the world.
The agency maintains that it has gathered overwhelming evidence over the past couple months that Armstrong has used banned substances like blood booster (EPO), steroids and blood transfusions, dating back to 1996, AND that ten of his former teammates are prepared to testify against him. Some of the strongest evidence would be coming from a former teammate and disgraced cyclist, Floyd Landis, who claims an eye witness account of Armstrong performing a blood transfusion in 2004. Armstrong has also had a relationship with Michele Ferrari, also known as “Dr. Evil” for his linkage to doping dating back to the mid-90’s. He was eventually convicted of fraud and malpractice in Italy in 2004 in relation to doping and so Armstrong had to drop him. Before that though, Ferrari was his coach and training advisor.
In order for the USADA to fully strip Armstrong of titles and keep him out of future races, they will have to present the proof to the International Cycling Union (UCI), who is the sports governing body, and are the ones that would ultimately put sanctions on Armstrong, if they feel it’s warranted. According to the head of the USADA, Travis Tygart, the full details of the evidence will be released to the public in the upcoming weeks.
So perhaps Armstrong saw the writing on the wall, and instead of taking the USADA to another independent arbitration process (an open legal proceeding for him to challenge the evidence) and the possibility of him having to testify under oath again, he (along with his publicist) decided the best plan of attack was to lay down and not bring more attention to the case.
While not having all the information yet, I still have to lean towards common sense in regards to how I personally convict Armstrong. I suppose you could say I'm just jaded by sports in general and whether or not purity in these leagues can really exist.
Especially at the moment.
Yeah, it’s been a tough month for the wishful thinkers after Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were recently busted by the MLB drug testing program. And just last year, baseball’s MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for a banned substance, but got off based on a technicality with procedure that would in no way have compromised the validity of that sample.
I’m not to privy to the ins and outs of the cycling game and I can’t really just do an eyeball test to see who the cheaters are, but I’m guessing from what the experts of the sports have said, winning the Tour de France 7 times in a row without some “help” is about as likely as a slugger hitting 73 home runs in a season.
And I’ve never cared about Armstrongs go to card, that he’s never failed a test, because we know the robbers are always ahead of the cops in this area. Until they know what to test for, they can’t really develop procedures to find any masking agents or whatever else athletes use to continually slip by. There’s a difference between, he's never tested positive and he’s never cheated.
Swiss cyclist, Thomas Frei admitted to doping for the a couple years agao and detailed just how easy it was for him to produce a negative test while using EPO. And until recently blood transfusions and HGH weren’t even tested for.
Drug testing in sports leagues feels so limited, archaic and inadequate that it’s really just a facade for gullible fans to have a chance to think their heroes are legitimate.
You might not even be able to use the excuse that “Lance Armstrong may have cheated, but so did everyone else at that time. So he was obviously still the best.” Yes, now another former teammate of Armstrongs, Tyler Hamilton, is releasing a book “The Secret Race” where in it he describes his time in cycling as “his initiation into a doping fraternity that operated in both reckless and sophisticated ways, and portrays Armstrong as an athlete whose will to win was matched by his drive to use performance-enhancing drugs more effectively than anyone else in the peloton.” So Armstrong may have just been the most sophisticated cheater and not necessarily just one of many athletes doing the same drug regimens – and so there wasn't necessarily an even playing field among the cheats.
I also have a hard time believing that this many former teammates would risk perjuring themselves because of jealousy, or a personal vendetta against Armstrong. And wouldn’t it be in Armstrongs best interest to come after them strongly with defamation of character, lawsuits? I’m sure he has the money and the time.
But where there’s smoke there’s fire, and in this case I think the USADA will have it’s day in bringing down the most famous of the cheaters in the world of cycling, which is probably their objective. They're looking to create a starting point for cleaning up the sport. So what better way then to start with Lance?
The difficult part of this is (assuming Lance did use performance enhancers to achieve his success) well how do we reconcile that with all the positive things that have come through his lies. His cancer foundation Livestrong has raised close to 500 million dollars for cancer patients. There are countless people that have been inspired to keep fighting because of Armstrong’s ability to beat the disease.
The end seems to justify the means in this case.
Donators to the charity aren't likely going to ask for a refund. The cancer that has gone into remission thanks to the money raised isn't going to come back now that he’s been caught. These things can’t be undone just because they came from someone who turned out to be a fraud.
Real or not, people believed and that’s all that mattered. If one person was inspired enough to keep moving, keep coming to treatments and overcoming cancer, it was worth someone artificially pushing pedals a little faster on a bike. Sports just seem so meaningless next to a friend or family member suffering from cancer.
Of course this doesn’t make him a great person either, or even someone we should priase and admire. He was just the instrument used to accomplish something much bigger than his own intentions. Through God, or science or whatever you believe in, something good came out of his deceitfulness.
Maybe the Lance Armstrong story was just a little too incredible and we should have known better. A cancer survivor who comes back to dominate his sport at the highest level. But I guess that’s what a lot of people needed to hear at the time.
The situation reminds me a little of a line from one of my favorite movies, “The Dark Knight. At the end of the film, Batman takes the blame for Harvey Dent’s dirty deeds so the citizens could still have hope in Gothom's white knight. Batman (Christopher Nolan) put it this way...
“Sometimes the truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded...”
Although I hated "The Dark Knight Rises" but I'll save that rant for later.