Lance Armstrong has decided he finally feels like admitting what we have all known to be true for many years — he’s a cheater. He seems to think that by coming clean in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he can begin the process of being forgiven, but it’s hardly that simple. Armstrong lied for years. He pressured his teammates into doping. He threatened those who refused to help him cover up his scheme. For those reasons, tennis star Novak Djokovic has no respect for the seven-time Tour de France champion.
“I mean, you know, I think everybody was expecting him to (come clean),” Djokovic said during an interview at the Australian Open. “I mean, it would be ridiculous for him to decline and refuse all the charges because it has been proven. They have like a thousand proofs that he’s positive. I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this.
“He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story. I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair towards any sportsman, any athlete. It’s just not the way to be successful. So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.”
While I certainly agree that Armstrong is a disgrace (as we outlined in detail earlier this week), whether or not he cheated the sport is debatable. As Ty Duffy of The Big Lead pointed out, doping in cycling is hardly limited to Armstrong.
It’s like steroid usage in baseball. Did players during the steroid era cheat? Certainly. But ratings and attendance numbers were through the roof, and fans certainly enjoyed watching balls fall out of the park. The players may have cheated, but the enjoyment was real. The same can be said of cycling, which gained popularity and roped in new viewers every time Armstrong was going for another Tour de France title. I’m sure the television networks aren’t all that upset that Armstrong was doping all those years.