We've all heard the news that broke last week: Lance Armstrong admitted to taking performance-enhancing substanc- es during all of his seven Tour de France victories from 1999-2005. During his two and a half hour interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong seemingly came clean about some of the al- legations that were brought against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). USADA's case against Armstrong was based upon copious amounts of evidence from frozen urine samples, eyewitness testimony and a relatively new scientific technique called the biological passport, which basically can tell someone everything that's been in your body over a certain length of time. Before I bash Armstrong too much, his effort and vision with the Livestrong Foundation has been instrumental, not only for raising money for cancer research, but also for giving cancer victims hope for their future. To the casual observer, Armstrong's admission of guilt seems to clear up so much specu- lation on his cycling career. Yet
there are many points of con- tention, including his insistence that his comeback in the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010 (where he finished third and 23rd, respec- tively) was unaided by the use of
performance enhancing drugs, where the USADA report basical- ly said the exact opposite. I won't bore y'all with the details because the USADA report is long and full of boring technical jargon. Armstrong also denied reports that stated he offered to make a sizeable donation (read: six fig- ures) to USADA in 2004. In a phone interview with ESPN, for- mer USADA CEO Terry Madden confirmed the allegation that cur- rent USADA head man Travis Tygart made on 60 Minutes Sports several weeks ago. The important thing to know is this: during his televised con- fession and apology, Armstrong never actually apologized and
continued to lie to the public that had once so adored him. Lance Armstrong doesn't go to Xavier and is not associated with Xavier in any manner. So why does this matter to us?
Lying is the death knell. Floyd Landis cheated to win a Tour de France. Mark McGwire cheated to break Major League Baseball's re- cord for home runs hit in a single season, which was later broken by another drug cheat. People cheat and occasionally get caught. Armstrong has been rightly vilified because he lied for the better part of two decades to everyone that wanted to know. He went out of his way to sup- press dissent against him, includ- ing ruining the lives of people that spoke out against his doping. Lying is what gets people in bigger trouble than normal. Look at what happened to Bruce Pearl when he was at Tennessee. See
how far Jim Tressel fell at Ohio State. The NCAA barely cared about the infractions that the two coaches committed while leading their respective programs. Instead, the NCAA ruled with the hand of God because of the lies the two men fed its investigators. Covering something up is the same thing as lying. It's a good thing we have absolutely no expe- rience doing that at Xavier. Just kidding, we are pretty much profession- als at that around here. Didn't the university get in- vestigated by the Department of Education about something like this? This is the type of thing that gets people in trouble. It gets corpora- tions and univer- sities in trouble. Wouldn't it make more sense for all of us to admit when something is wrong and take our 20 lashings on the back and get on with life? We, as a university community, need to urge our leaders to be more forthcoming about issues
that arise on campus so that we, as a university community, can deal with them together. The perceived public relations gain, at first, will always be negated by the retroac- tive backlash of finding out the truth. No matter whether you are a collegiate coach dealing with violations within your program, a former American idol and hero cheating in order to win or a uni- versity that actively engages in covering up an alleged rape or two, the truth will always come out eventually. When some- thing goes astray, when you make a mistake, when there's an acci- dent, just come clean. Tell the truth. Not doing so puts you and me into a catego- ry with a socio- path like Lance Armstrong. But if being associated with a lying drug-cheat like Armstrong is your cup of tea, by all means knock yourself out.
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