Is it a psychologists’ dream to expose the mind of a man who must have been on a knife edge for over a decade…awaiting the impending doom and collapse of his kingdom built upon a fragile pack of lies?
Lance’s exposé has certainly caused an intriguing debate on moral attitudes to his actions which have polarised around two camps; the first and earlier position by the cycling media and social networks was of continued support for the man who has undoubtedly done the most to raise funds and awareness of cancer. This position appears to be based on the moral philosophy of, all things being equal, he has done more good in the world than harm.
Of late however, we now see that the campaign by former professional cyclists against Nike’s continued support for Lance has undone this (certainly from a media reporting perspective) and Lance is to be set-adrift by all (Nike, Sram, Livestrong et al) and sundry. Sponsors aside, it is certainly understandable that the people who have had their livelihoods curtailed by Lance’s indiscretions should campaign against the former more forgiving approach.
Is this fair? Fair to whom…as with all things in life there is rarely a straightforward answer and this is particularly so in this moral maze. Lance was a product of his life and times and he was certainly not the only person to have circumnavigated the rules. He has done a great deal to fight cancer and one could argue he has saved lives by giving cancer victims hope and funding cancer research. He has also massively raised the number of people getting on their bikes around the globe.
Equally so, we can see the negatives to his actions which are systemic in the professional cycling peleton and the fall out could be the reason for long-time sponsor Rabobank’s recent announcement to leave.
Is amnesty or zero-tolerance the correct approach to all the other riders who have been implicated in doping infractions in cycling’s recent history? Cycling News is shying away from taking a strong editorial line and is instead prodding the UCI to take a definitive stance. With their Radio Millar article we can see the problem, some former dopers are reformed citizens, whereas others will just do it again and again and this is not to mention the Soigners, Team Doctors and Direct Sportifs who are qually complicit. How is the governing body to be fair to everyone? Time will tell.