Stay Strong or Stay Silent? Armstrong Reportedly Admits Doping While Pursued In Various Lawsuits For Past Deception On Doping

256px-Oprah_Winfrey_(2004)220px-Lance_Armstrong_Tour_2010_team_presentation_(cropped)Lance Armstrong has reportedly gone to Oprah to come clean on his use of doping to win his seven Tour de France titles — sort of. Oprah says that he admitted to the use of the drugs but not quite as fully as she wanted. The admission is clearly calculated to allow Armstrong to compete in triathlons. However, there are an array of lawsuits facing Armstrong that raise some interesting questions.

Armstrong, 41, is banned for life from cycling and cannot compete in athletic events sanctioned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He repeatedly and passionately denied doping for years — attacking those who raised such allegations.

Now, the Justice Department is moving to join a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis. He is also being sued by a Dallas-based promotions company for bonuses that he received for winning the Tour de France. The most interesting is a lawsuit by the British newspaper The Sunday Times to recover $500,000 paid to him to settle a libel lawsuit.

In a rare twist, the newspaper took out an advertisement suggesting questions to Oprah to ask Armstrong — questions that would clearly help it in its own lawsuit. The Brits clearly do not know that only Obama speaks directly to Oprah and Oprah only speaks directly to God.

Armstrong sued the Sunday Times and two of its reporters for an article in 2004 alluding doping. The newspaper reportedly settled for $1 million. In England, there are cases for such lawsuit to recover prior settlements. In the United States, it would be extremely difficult since the parties reached a voluntary agreement rather than litigate the truth of the matter.

The admissions by Armstrong therefore are quite risky. Oprah can give absolution but not protection from such lawsuits. Competing in triathlons would not appear to justify the risk.

The Landis lawsuit is also interesting. He is alleging under the False Claims Act that Armstrong and team managers defrauded the U.S. government when they accepted money from the U.S. Postal Service. Thursday is the deadline for the United States to join the lawsuit and it is expected to do so. That raises a question of Armstrong’s legal advice on the matter. Why go to Oprah before the deadline for the United States instead of waiting a couple of weeks? The Oprah interview would appear to all but guarantee the intervention of the United States. Of course, the intervention could reduce the recovery for Landis who would be entitled to 30% of any money the government recovers. The Postal Service paid a total of $30.6 million to the team’s management

43 thoughts on “Stay Strong or Stay Silent? Armstrong Reportedly Admits Doping While Pursued In Various Lawsuits For Past Deception On Doping

  1. Who really cares…. Until years most recent…. There’s be very few if any in Cooperstown. They may be falsely held to a higher standard in my opinion….

  2. Long before these controversies arose, when this guy was considered a saint, I am on the record of pegging him as a phoney. The folks who villified me are mostly silent now. A few have apologized. Did any people here see through him way back?

  3. Very sad situation and if he is truly going to admit doping, he better have a lot of cash on hand to pay the wolves at the door.

  4. Nick,

    I never “got” his sainthood either and he seemed a phony to me too. Perhaps he should move to Russia where Putin can shield him from harm?

  5. When athletes are put in a position to confess their prior drug use they usually take a path which includes vague apologies, tears, Jesus and their profound embarrassment at letting down their family and chiildren in general. I would like to see at least one athlete have a press conference and say that they did the drugs for business purposes. To admit that they did the drugs so they could be more successful and make more money and enjoy the adjulation such success brings would be refreshing change from the self-indulgent fake apologies.

  6. I think I saw a report that he’s worth about $100 million, so he probably can take whatever financial hit comes out of this.

    “Competing in triathlons would not appear to justify the risk. ”

    Just my personal pop psycho-analysis based on what I’ve read of him, but I think he truly is an incredibly driven and competitive person who desperately wants to compete in triathlon again. He’s got a few more years where he could compete at the top level of triathlon and be successful, and have an incredible story to tell. In some way, being successful in triathlon might also validate some of his tour de france wins. When you have as much money as he does and his reputation is already trashed, you can afford to throw away a few million.

    The other thing to think about is that he likely will have to testify under oath about all this stuff in pending litigation. He may (reasonably?) fear criminal prosecution for perjury is he sticks with the story he’s been telling. Since he’s already lost his reputation in the court of public opinion and has already officially lost all his cycling wins, perhaps he decided the risk of perjury was not worth holding on to the small percentage of true believers and whatever financial advantage perjury would bring in those lawsuits. If he’s made that decision, then much better to bring it all out on your own terms without the appearance of being compelled to do so.

  7. MikeS, I am not @ all surprised you had him nailed. I’ve been watching the new 60 Minutes Sports. This fraud really went after his accusers not just legally, but w/ veiled threats. I would love to hear Sheryl Crowe’s take on him.

  8. Adam,
    Good point.
    The way these “confessions” are usually presented sound like Lance was jogging one day in the woods some place and incidentally ran into Oprah that was doing the same thing before she sat on a bench to tie her shoes. Lance than greeted his “good old friend” and decided to tell her some personal secrets “just between us friends”…
    When we know that these moves/confessions are decisions made by a team of lawyers and financial advisers.

  9. You know Oprah is worth at least $1 billion. I wonder how much she is going to financially assist Mr. Armstrong? Once again, you have to blame these sports officials of not properly testing Mr. Armstrong (or every athlete) every year. Did they do hair and blood test before and after he competed in each event? Or are the rules like MLB? Of course, Mr. Armstrong deserves whatever punishment he has coming to him, but I am still wondering how much ‘money’ others have made from having him being a repeat offender (I mean a repeat winner), including the sport itself.

  10. Lance held the power to create or destroy, not unlike some public institutions like DOJ. If one man held such power to terrify and control for so long, with his coterie of enforcers, what chance have we against institutionalized power?

  11. Nick,
    Same here, ever since day one. Never bought it. And as this article shows, Armstrong has always been precisely an “Oprah type Hero”.
    I followed the tour ever since I was little, and it was not an anti-American frenchy ordeal. It was a sport where nobody got any money from. most of the runners were unsophisticated hillbillies from the sticks of Italy, Spain or Belgium (Belgians by the way are often stereotyped as very slow minded in the French culture). This event was truly a celebration of simplicity, where small town people wait for the tour to come by where the runners stop and talk to the folks. I did it many times…I spoke to Delgado (a winner of the tour) as if he were just a guy from the corner. I saw runners accepting simple presents from the simple folks. It was something quite unique. Things have changed a lot in the past fifteen years, not because of Armstrong, but Armstrong was one of the illustrations of that change…(with or without doping)

  12. This fruit with the bike helmet has been lying about his drug use for years. He needs to be strongarmed or lanced with something.

  13. Yeah, if he was in Missoura 9see the topic about needling drivers two days ago) he would be pulled over on his bike and hauled in handcuffs to a hospital twenty miles away so they can jab a big fat needle in his arm to take blood and determine if he is a doper. it is all the fault of his Redneck Mother. Google the song: Redneck Mothers by Jerry Jeff Walker. It says it all about dopers who ride bikes in the roads of Missoura.

  14. Lance Armstrong the new shinny thing that will distract us from the real issues. I really don’t care if he doped or not. I really don’t get prosecuting these people when we don’t prosecute war criminals or corporate criminals who tank our economy. Call me old fashion but priorities please.

  15. keith, Wow, great perspective..thanks. I know nothing of cycling. And even before the rumblings started from Europe the man, not the athlete, or cancer survivor, or hero, just the man stuck me as a phoney. And, I mean he screamed to me phoney.

    I love your description of European hillbillies. I wonder if they eat bologna and mayo sandwiches?

  16. Again, Justice Holmes gets it right.

    We need to get our priorities straight, to be sure. This is just another distraction, IMO.

  17. “The Brits clearly do not know that only Obama speaks directly to Oprah and Oprah only speaks directly to God. ”

    Seriously, WTH is that about?

  18. Nick,
    That’s why I faulted Armstrong since the beginning. He viciously and successfully turned the problem as if it were the “French” disliking America again. That tactic was sure to rally the American people behind him no matter what, and make his a hero. In fact Americans weren’t even into cycling at that time, but since this became about patriotism, even Oprah is now all about the “Millot Jaune” and “Pelotons”
    …That was very disingenuous of him considering the nature and the tradition of that sport.
    It was not “those frenchies” at it again. Those who appreciate complex and abstract paintings, and savor bizarre tasting wines.
    I’m telling you small towns, when they knew the tour was going to pass through their area, spend a whole year with their kids making signs for the moment, and all of them ignore the yellow jersey to root for somebody struggling at the end of the pack. It’s very touching.

    Lance’s strategy was packed in a Bushite debate of good vs. evil. Meaning, how could a person that’s that altruistic, and a friend of Oprah do anything bad?
    This is why I find this whole story interesting, this guy fights hard to re-orient a lot of money towards cancer research, that’s extremely wonderful, and at the same time he is a cheat and uses nasty tactics to coerce and silence critics to make sure he is celebrated as successful. In my view he is human, he combines good an evil. That’s why I liked Adam’s post who wonders about the nature of the confession. If his confession is of the type:
    ” Listen folks, I’m just a human, weak and self centered. I wanted so bad to become rich and to be revered, and to get there I had to step on some and even vilify others…”

    I would cry…

    And yes overseas there is a lot of drowning fries in Mayo. as Travolta says in Pulp Fiction.

  19. I don’t see how the US gov’t was damaged by this. The purpose of the Postal Service sponsoring him was purely to promote their mail services which I would say was a successful venture. People are not going to demand a refund due to the doping by Mr. Armstrong of their Express Mail postage from parcels delivered four years ago.

  20. Darren,
    I agree. The issue of him doping has nothing to do with the Postal Service retaining him as a marketing spokesman through the bike team.

  21. Hero worship is a decidedly male thing as my wife saw through this guy long ago. For my part, I wanted to believe in miracles but alas like other miracles I’ve been told about they disappeared in the sunbeams. Bon voyage, Lance. Let us know how the going is on the Tour de Fraud.

    Here’s a great — and I mean great –column from LA Times columnist, Bill Dwyre, about the orchestrated play for sympathy for Lance and how we sway to the music right on cue:,0,5716716.column

  22. Darren:

    “I don’t see how the US gov’t was damaged by this. ”


    I think the contract called for Lance to comply with all rules of cycling and to not employ doping. If he violated that and took the money he defrauded the sponsor since the disrepute now is not something they bargained for.

    Claims made under the False Claims Act usually brought as Qui Tam cases merely require that the government entity or quasi-government entity be improperly billed under a false claim. The harm to the governments is implied in that it did not get what it bargained for — a clean spokesman.

  23. “Confessing” that he used banned drugs is relatively easy for someone worth $100 million (maybe millions more than that by today). What Armstrong WON’T do, imo,, is apologize for all of the pain that he has caused to so many people, businesses, and institutions – but even if he were to do so, this cynic would see it as being about as honest as an Obama promise to bring about (progressive) change to make life better for
    all Americans.

  24. The bike punk has lanced a hole in his strong arm image of biky athelete with cutesy helmet peddling for the stars.

  25. As is often said It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Looks like the biggest challenge was not the actual race but the race to stay ahead of the testers who were barely competent. Just finished the Tyler Hamilton book on his experiences as Lance’s BFF and riding partner and Lance comes off as a narcissist and expert liar. The sport is based on achieving a performance so difficult that success is impossible without drug assists. As the participants drug up to meet the challenge, the race gets even more challenging. My question is why is so much money attached and why did the near bankrupt US Post Office pay multi-millions of dollars to this venture? Lance needs to be stripped not only of his yellow shirts but also his manipulated fortune.

  26. Just go away Lance.

    You lied, you coerced, you intimidated, cheated, threatened, and crushed people.

    Just go away Lance.

    PS please don’t go into politics, you would probably be a big success.

  27. DB, I always thought this fraud had political aspirations. That was one of the red flags that screamed “phoney” in my eyes.

  28. I never “got” Lance Armstrong either. He’s one of those people, as several other posters noted, that just set off my phony alarm instantly. Something about the look in his eye that says a combination of overweening ambition and untrustworthy. I’d never thought of him having political aspirations, but nick’s call is probably a good one. I sure as hell wouldn’t buy a used car from him.

  29. When I see these fruits on the street with their bike helmets on I think of the Hells Angels who ride real motorcylces and wont wear helmets even tho they go a hundred mph. Then these biky guys wear these tight little tee shirts and carry water in little canteens and sometimes wear knee pads. When Lance rides up they kneel and pray. The bicylists idol. Ride hard Lance! When I saw that Roper Dopers Need Love Too sticker on the back of the bike I knew that he was a phony and a real doper. That face has a meth look about it. His name ought to be Lenny Weekarm. The steroid thing is just a front for the real drugs that this meth head with a helmet is taking. He needs to have his head lanced for going on Oprah and fessing up.

  30. Given that every winner for years has been doping I could forgive him for doping. I can’t forgive the race officials and cycling organizations who knew everyone was doping but chose to look just hard enough to not find it.

    What I could never forgive him for is the way he treated people around him who did not support him fully or who told the truth. His attempts to destroy peoples lives is unforgivable.

    The wife was a big fan & defender until it became too obvious. Using her as a guide there is nothing he could do today that will repair his reputation. He should take his money & retreat into obscurity.

  31. “Armstrong said a “win at all costs” mentality and “arrogance” were behind his cheating, and accepted blame for his mistakes, saying he deserves the scrutiny he’s now come under in the wake of being stripped of his titles.” –

    You don’t say. And of course taking the blame now has nothing to do with getting busted and being stripped of the titles. Yep. nick was on to something in seeing you as having political ambitions. You’d fit right in.

  32. Lets see a calculated risk….. If its about money…. I wonder how many of the Statue of Limitations to recover against Armstrong have run….


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  34. “Dave Zirin proves once and for all that politics has breached the modern sports arena with a vengeance.”


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  35. Betsy Andreu, Lance Armstrong Whistleblower, On Oprah Interview: ‘He’s A Master Manipulator’

    “Betsy Andreu, the wife of Lance Armstrong’s former teammate, joined HuffPost Live Friday to react to Armstrong’s doping confession to Oprah in an interview airing Thursday night. In 2006, Andreu testified that she heard Armstrong admit to his cancer doctors a decade earlier that he had used EPO, growth hormone and steroids. After her testimony, Andreu became one of Armstrong’s many targets, calling her a liar, crazy and a “b..itch.”

    In one of the more bizarre portions of the interview, Oprah asked Armstrong about Andreu and whether she was lying in her testimony about his doping admission in 1996. Armstrong replied “I’m not going to take that on. I’m laying down on that one. I’m going to put that one down. She asked me, and I asked her not to talk about it.” He told Oprah that when he called Andreu to apologize he told her “‘listen, I called you crazy. I called you a b…itch. I called you all these things, but I never called you fat’.”

    Andreu told host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin that she didn’t believe that Armstrong was being 100% truthful in his answers to Oprah. “Lance is a master manipulator of the media,” Andreu told Ahmed, “and that’s why all these years, he’s gotten away with it. Look at how many people are now saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I had no idea he was the cheat. I had no idea he was such a bully. I had no idea he was so mean.’”

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