If Lance Armstrong allegations are true, he has destroyed cycling and done more damage than Tiger Woods’ sex scandal or LeBron James’ public ‘Decision’ ever did


June 17, 2012

If USADA has goods on Armstrong, it turns him into one of the biggest liars in sports history.

Lance Armstrong is a world-class liar and cheat, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

June 17, 2012

If USADA has goods on Armstrong, it turns him into one of the biggest liars in sports history.

Lance Armstrong is a world-class liar and cheat, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

The two biggest stars in American sports, one with 14 professional championships and grinding hard to get to 15, one without a title yet and grinding even harder to get his first, are Tiger Woods and LeBron James. Nobody else even close. They are the two who do the most to bring casual fans into the tent, they are the ones who do the most to make the ratings needle jump.

They are also the two athletes people love to watch even as enough of them still hate Tiger and LeBron. Especially LeBron, the subject of the current dumbest debate in sports, about whether you are a LeBron “hater” or not. And if you are, by the way? A LeBron James hater? If you still haven’t moved on from “The Decision” two years ago? Seek help now, because you’re starting to creep the rest of us out.

LeBron made people lose their minds because he left Cleveland the way he did and went to play with his friends in South Beach. Tiger did something much more serious: He whacked away at his own mythology, the image we had of him, the image with which we were all so comfortable, like his (now ex) wife whacked away at the windows of his SUV that Thanksgiving night in 2009.

So Tiger cheated on his wife, occasionally acting like a frat-boy slob.

LeBron? He was treated as if he’d cheated on a whole city and its fans and ran off with another team and city, like the Heat wasn’t just a team wearing red, but the girl with the red dress on.

That brings us to Lance Armstrong, another sporting icon, international star and inspiration to millions of Livestrong-wearing yellow bracelets. Armstrong is a different kind of cheater, a world-class liar and cheat according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which now officially charges him with doping and is fully prepared to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles.

And if it is true, if the USADA has the goods on him, with former teammates testifying against him and blood samples from even 2009 and 2010 that the agency says are “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions” — if science finally gets this guy the way the other riders never could — then Armstrong has done something more than destroy his own mythology:

He has effectively destroyed the sport that made him rich and famous.

Are you kidding?

Cycling now makes pro wrestling look serious, and should be banned from the Olympics immediately. It is clear now, and just because of Armstrong, the biggest star in the history of the sport, that systematic doping has gone on for generations in this sport, and made a complete mockery of the idea of a level playing field.

You have different performance-enhancing drugs affecting different riders in different ways and anybody who still signs off on this, in any sport, doesn’t care about fair competition or a level playing field, just who has the best meds, the best trainers, the best “supplements.”

Armstrong will fight this, you know he will, try to run out the clock somehow, try to throw a battery of lawyers at these accusations, try to buy the same reasonable doubt that Roger Clemens is trying to buy in his perjury trial, even though no reasonable person — at least no reasonable person outside Clemens’ family — believes Clemens wasn’t a juicer, that he didn’t lie through his teeth about that to Congress.

Armstrong may yet win out, hiding behind what has been his best defense from the start: That his Livestrong Foundation has helped millions of people, and if you don’t believe him, forget about all his enablers, ask his rich and famous friends.

Remember something, though: Armstrong didn’t just get ridiculously famous over the years, he got ridiculously rich. If he is caught now, it is more amazing than seven Tour de France victories that he didn’t get caught before. If USADA has the goods on him, with a battery of people, including all those former teammates, ready to line up against him, it means he wasn’t just greedy, he was arrogant to the point of being delusional.

Through it all, there are enough people who believe that Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, worldwide symbol of cancer-fighting, was the one clean guy in a sport so dirty it makes you miss the days when the mob ran boxing in the 1950s.

Armstrong has said in the past that he is done fighting the ruling bodies of his sport and these accusations. Only it is hard to see him not fighting this as hard as he can, maybe ignoring the charges against him and suing the USADA. How dare they come after a beloved global icon like him? Don’t they know how many people he’s helped?

He sure has helped people, and inspired them. But that is not a defense, it is just a different kind of history from Armstrong, ultimately separate from the history he made riding his bike, even though Armstrong is obsessed with it not being separate.

Nobody ever asked Tiger Woods, when he was riding high, winning those first 14 majors, if he was cheating on his wife. So, really, he lied to her. LeBron James is no liar, or cheat, he just picked a clunky way to change teams as a free agent; he didn’t lie about switching jobs the way big coaches have plenty of times.

But if the USADA finally has the goods on Lance Armstrong, if science is finally going to come from behind and catch this guy, it means Armstrong lied to everybody.

Gotta love him.

Tiger’s struggles, J.R. Ewing and the happiest father…

  • I don’t want to say Tiger Woods had a bad day at the Open, but a high school junior beat him by five strokes.

What, it turns out that Tiger didn’t win his fourth Open because he had the 36-hole lead?

  • The United States Tennis Association announced this week that it is making all these improvements on the National Tennis Center, none of which involves building a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.

But then they shouldn’t build a roof over the place, they should tear it down and start all over again, whether it’s “cost effective” or not.

So you know: The people in charge now aren’t the people who authorized the building of the worst and dumbest major venue in tennis, and maybe anywhere.

At the time, the USTA could have built any kind of stadium it wanted, and built this thing, the National Shopping Mall, and as close as we have come yet to the first-ever, all-luxury-suite sports stadium.

Wimbledon managed to build an absolutely perfect roof over Centre Court, which is about older than Buckingham Palace.

The Australian Open has a roof over Rod Laver Stadium.

The U.S. Open, at least according to the USTA, is stuck with Ashe Stadium.

Oh, it’s big, all right, stretching out to the sky in all directions like some huge saucer, with some of the worst seats in the world at the top.

It is the league leader in luxury suites, you bet.

It is just dysfunctional, and not just because rain has forced four straight men’s finals to Monday.

It is dysfunctional because it is a lousy stage for this country’s national championship tennis, and not nearly as great a stage as Louis Armstrong Stadium once was.

Sometimes you go for big — the way the geniuses who built this thing did — and come up painfully small.

ESPN’s Jon Barry is a Collinsworth-in-waiting.

I just wasn’t as excited about those black jerseys the Jets were wearing in practice this week as I thought I was going to be.

If the refs aren’t going to call an obvious foul on Kevin Durant — one of the two biggest stars on the planet — with seven seconds left in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, somebody tell me when they’re going to call it.

You swallow your whistle in that moment, you shouldn’t be allowed to work another game in this series, that’s it and that’s all.

  • Just for the sake of nostalgia, I watched the new “Dallas” the other night on TNT and, I swear, could see Larry Hagman’s eyebrows growing as the show went on.

This should be the last year that the Mets and Yankees play six interleague games in the same season, because it’s a stupid number.

If somebody had told you a year-and-a-half ago that somebody other than Roger Federer would win seven straight finals over Rafa Nadal the way Novak Djokovic did before Rafa stopped all that at the French Open on Monday . . . well, you would have had that person tested to see if he was taking one of those Lance Armstrong, EPO, blood transfusion cocktails.

  • Oh, man, Happy Father’s Day today to my Pops, who at 88 remains the happiest person I know.

When he was 20, he was a bombardier in the 165th Bombardment Group, 783rd Squadron, U.S. Army Air Force.

He came home from that, the boy having become the man, never thinking he was part of some Greatest Generation.

My dad just knew he had survived the war and found out so many important things about himself in the process, mostly about all the good inside him, sure at the same time he was going to have a great life, and make one for his family.

And he has.

Has he ever.

Courtesy: nydaily