“…I know the truth. The truth isn’t what was out there. The truth isn’t what I said, and now it’s gone – this story was so perfect for so long. And I mean that, as I try to take myself out of the situation and I look at it. You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times. You have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it’s just this mythic perfect story, and it wasn’t true.” –Lance Armstrong
Let us all stop expressing faux shock when we discover a public figure we once held in high regard is exposed as a liar. Politicians lie to us, church figures lie to us, heck even our parents lie to us, lying it’s as American as apple pie. So when sports figures are outted as cheats and liars we should not be a tad bit surprised. This week we learned that famed cyclist Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs while competing during the Tour de France and that All-Star Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o story about losing his girlfriend to cancer was a lie. Take those two incidents with Major League Baseball not nominating any of their cheats to the Hall of Fame this year and you get a pretty good picture of where our society is.
Here is how the beginning of Oprah’s conversation with Armstrong began:
Oprah Winfrey: Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?
Lance Armstrong: “Yes.”
OW: Was one of those banned substances EPO?
OW: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?
OW: Did you ever use any other banned substances such as testosterone, cortisone or Human Growth Hormone?
OW: In all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?
OW: Was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping, seven times?
LA: “Not in my opinion. That generation. I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t try to stop the culture.”
Everyone who watched the interview pretty much agreed that Armstrong; who went after everyone that accused him of using performance enhancing drugs with ferocity, agreed that he did not show proper remorse and that he only appeared sorry that he had got caught.
Alessandra Stanely of the New York Times put it this way:
Armstrong said he was caught up in his own myth and explained that after surviving cancer, he was “ruthlessly” determined to win at all costs. He threw in some family back story of childhood hardship, just enough to give his aggressive campaign to discredit truth tellers a mitigating context, without turning mawkish. He admitted with a rueful smile to being a bully but said he never directly instructed teammates to take performance-enhancing drugs. There was a ghostly trace of boyish charm when he said things like “I’m not the most believable guy in the world, I understand that, but I did not do that.”
He did admit to taking performance-enhancing drugs, saying he saw it as necessary, “like air in my tires.” He stopped short of saying that everybody did it, but did say that many, many others did the same, and he felt no guilt because he thought he was merely making “a level playing field.”
Lance Armstrong, liar! But lying is as American as apple pie.
Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o story is a little more perplexing but boils down to a lie nevertheless. Te’o’s story was a wrenching one, he had lost both his grandmother and girlfriend to cancer on the same day and he had devoted this season to her memory. Te’o told of a gripping love story everyone that heard it could not but help feel sympathy for him, the only problem is the story was a lie. Te’o says he was the victim of an internet “phishing scam” where unsuspecting individuals are duped into believing they are interacting with someone who often times do not exist. One of the many problems is Te’o kept going with the story even when he “discovered” it was a hoax.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Not once but twice after he supposedly discovered his online girlfriend of three years never even existed, Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te’o perpetuated the heartbreaking story about her death.
An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn’t she dead, she wasn’t real.
On Thursday, a day after Te’o’s inspiring, playing-through-heartache story was exposed as a bizarre lie, Te’o and Notre Dame faced questions from sports writers and fans about whether he really was duped, as he claimed, or whether he and the university were complicit in the hoax and misled the public, perhaps to improve his chances of winning the Heisman.
There are still some questions out there about the role Te’o played if any in this hoax, but his story was nothing more than a lie and lying is as American as apple pie!
We all remember the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, that race saved baseball followed by prolific play from hitters and pitchers around the majors, but it was all a lie, all of this occurred during the steroid era, an era where the best pitcher Roger Clemmons and hitter Barry Bonds were using performance enhancing drugs. Baseball made billions from that era and now they are lying to themselves by passing on Bonds, Clemons and an array of hitters from that era for the Hall of Fame because of steroid use. Baseball knew what was going on and turned a blind eye. Major league baseball is lying, but lying is as American as apple pie.
We have all told lies, heck we lie to ourselves and others on a daily basis. So we should not be stunned when Lance Armstrong comes out as a cheat or that Manti Te’o created a story about a girlfriend that did not exist. We should not be shocked when a politician does not keep a promise or when professional athletes are exposed as liars. Lying, it’s as American as apple pie!