Lance Armstrong is a hero to many. He survived cancer, went on to reach incredible heights as an athlete, and parlayed that fame and success into creating an organization (LiveStrong) that has raised millions for cancer patients. Lance Armstrong is also a bully, who used that same fame and success to viciously attack and punish anyone who dared speak out against him. In August 2012, after years of trying to prove that he had used performance-enhancing drugs to win his title, the United States Doping Association (USADA) announced that they were not only stripping Armstrong of his titles but banning him from future competitions as well. At the time, Armstrong said that “I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances." He even went so far as to label USADA a “bully.”
In January 2013, just five months after making the claim that he would no longer talk about the issue, Armstrong admitted to Oprah that not only had he used PEDs, he had won every single one of his Tour De France with their help. This represents quite a contrast to years of denials and even lawsuits against his accusers. It also opened the door to a whole new series of attacks, including lawsuits from companies who wanted their money back.
SCA Promotions is one of those companies. In early February, SCA announced that they are suing Armstrong for a total of $12 million for bonuses that they had paid him for 3 (2002, 2003 and 2004) Tour wins. SCA paid the first two bonuses but withheld the third over suspicions that Armstrong had doped to win. Armstrong sued them for the bonus and not only won, but received a larger award than the original bonus through the settlement.
This suit comes at a particularly bad time for Armstrong, as he has lost almost all of his endorsement deals and is also facing a criminal investigation for “obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.” Speculation has focused on the idea that Armstrong confessed to doping in order to earn back his right to compete in various endurance events, including triathlons. However, his confession has seemingly only added to his woes.
It is truly a shame that it has come to this. Many of his fans had said that regardless of the doping, they were still fans because of all the good he has done. Stuart Scott, ESPN SportsCenter anchor and cancer patient, tweeted that he was “grateful” for all Armstrong has done for cancer patients like himself. All of the people that Armstrong hurt in order to help others might disagree with Stuart Scott.
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