Alright, serious question right now. What more can we possibly say about Lance Armstrong? The man who was once considered “the greatest thing on two wheels” has been stripped of that moniker, along with his seven Tour de France titles, and has been branded “the greatest liar on two legs.”
In public opinion, Lance Armstrong is less than a man. These accusations occurred following his scathing interview on Oprah in which he not only admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs throughout his career, but also lied, ruining many other competitors’ careers and lives. Armstrong has been all but thrown in his coffin. However before the rest of the world closed it on him, he decided to take the initiative and surrender his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The announcement was made via Armstrong’s Twitter on Thursday afternoon:
@lancearmstrong: “The 2000 Bronze is back in possession of @usolympics and will be in Switzerland asap to @olympics.”
Well sure, it is just a bronze medal. Many could just speculate that the medal didn’t mean much to him and that he could afford to make like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and give it away now. But maybe, just maybe, Armstrong does feel a degree of guilt and his surrendering of the medal is his way of showing his remorse. Yes, Armstrong really has no clear shot of making it back into the hearts of the public. But this gesture could prove to be a model for other athletes who are either under suspicion or have been caught using banned PEDs. A prime example would be Milwaukee Brewers’ slugger Ryan Braun who was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season back in August. In the aftermath of this suspension, many baseball fans, analysts, writers and even players called for Braun to vacate his 2011 MVP award (the year in which he was first caught for taking PEDs), and even more so, to physically hand it over to his runner-up, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Braun it could be a lot worse. He could be Alex Rodriguez, or even worse, he could be Lance Armstrong. Reports have stated, however, that Braun has reached out to Milwaukee Brewers season ticket holders and personally apologized directly. This might be a start for Braun. A suggestion for his “exoneration list;” paying off Aaron Rodgers’ Twitter bet from over a year ago:
@toddsutton: “@AaronRodgers12 you really believe he didn’t use PED’s???? #delusional”
@AaronRodgers12: “@toddsutton ya I’d put my salary next year on it. #ponyup #exonerated”
One could hope that Lance Armstrong is on the road to redemption with this gesture. One could also hope that many athletes will follow Armstrong’s example and make the simple gestures that show remorse. In order to get respect, you have to give it first. Armstrong definitely earned some respect back, but to get more he has to prove more.