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Sports & Fitness // Hot Air
Steve Murray

Armstrong Can’t Hide True Self

Lance Armstrong was as self-centered as ever as he spoke with Oprah Winfrey | (AP) photo

You’ve got to credit Deadspin.com‘s headline writers for their accuracy: Lance Armstrong is a huge ass****.

That was the online publication’s assessment of the issue facing the seven-time Tour de France winner. The problem, according to Deadspin, was not the drugs or the lying about his chemical-induced victories, but that Armstrong is just an evil, nasty, very bad person.

They’re right.

Yes, Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs. Yes, he lied about it for years.

None of that matters. Being a dirty participant in a filthy industry isn’t a crime, it’s the status quo. As he correctly pointed out, he didn’t create the culture of doping in cycling, but he did take advantage of it. Perhaps to levels never before imagined, if you believe Travis Tygart.

The CEO of the U.S. Anti Doping Association described Armstrong’s drug operation as mafia-like.

Armstrong countered saying his doping program was not as egregious as the one administered by the East German government, which sought to advance Soviet ideals by turning 30-year-old women into 24-year-old men.

That’s comforting.

He further described the commonality of drugs in cycling, saying he viewed performance-enhancing drugs as critical to winning a bike race as air in the tires and water in the bottle. When asked whether it was possible to win seven Tour de France races without the banned substances, he said no.

Armstrong’s still-life performance seemed a combination of Pete Rose’s “I’ve confessed, so can I get back into the game?” tactic, and animator Jay Malone’s Tiger Woods in his hilarious, “The Tiger Woods Apology, What he Wanted to say …” video that begins with a black screen and the cartoon Woods saying, “Oh, I can’t believe I have to do this sh**.”

Throughout the entire interview, I fully expected Armstrong to drop the predetermined answers in favor of Malone’s more entertaining and accurate script.

“And now on to the apologies. None of which I really mean, you guys know that, right? I got caught, this is just what you do. Statement first, then I do a special with Oprah, maybe renew my vows, go to a PTA meeting, the dust settles and I **** an 18-year-old coked-out Rockette. That’s the formula,” said Malone’s Tiger Woods.

Armstrong also had a formula.

Angrily deny any wrong-doing and culpability. Destroy anyone who fails to completely buy into his version of reality. When faced with overwhelming evidence of his guilt, arrogantly tweet photos of himself lounging in front of his framed Tour de France jerseys. Wait until the clock runs out on his most serious legal challenges. Go on Oprah. Whether he starts targeting drug-addled Broadway dancers remains to be seen, but he did date Ashley Olsen, and that’s pretty creepy.

Armstrong came across neither contrite nor sympathetic. He answered the questions he wanted, dismissed those he felt beneath him and dismissively disregarded those he had falsely sued.

When asked about Dr. Michele Ferrari, the alleged mastermind behind the doping program, Armstrong, who’d agreed to a no-conditions interview, said he wasn’t comfortable talking about other people.

In regard to Emma O’Reilly, the team masseuse he sued after she claimed involvement in transporting drugs for Armstrong’s team and who he once called a drunk and a prostitute, couldn’t recall any legal action he may have taken. The case, that also involved The Sunday Times of London, took three years to settle. “To be honest, Oprah,” said Armstrong, “we sued so many people I don’t even … I’m sure we did.”

About Betsy Andreu, the wife of teammate Frankie Andreu, who Armstrong called the most ghastly of names after she gave a deposition saying she heard Armstrong admit to using PEDs: “I’m not going to take that on. I’m laying down on that one.”

That’s pure ass**** behavior, and it’s going to take a lot more than “I was a jerk, what can I say?” statements and personal phone calls of apologies to rectify the problem.

Armstrong needs to pay, big time.

He needs to compensate those who suffered from his wrath of arrogance and intimidation, and then he needs to go away.

Frivolous lawsuits are not cheap for the falsely accused nor should be the retribution.

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