It has been reported in many news outlets that Lance Armstrong will admit he used performance enhancing drugs while competing in cycling events like the Tour De France. His confession is scheduled to appear on Oprah’s television channel, OWN TV, and will air over two nights (Thursday, January 17th and Friday, January 18th at 9 p.m. EST/PST). Also, according to news outlets like The New York Times and ESPN, he may testify against several officials from the International Cycling Union.
This confession comes after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a report accusing him of running an empire that included himself and other athletes cheating to win, intimidating people, and other actions allowing the conspiracy to continue while maintaining his image as a hero. Lance Armstrong’s image, partly shaped by his survival of cancer, was enhanced when he won several Tour De France titles. According to public perception at the time, he was arguably the greatest cyclist ever.
Armstrong received several endorsement deals, and organizations connected to him enjoyed greater clout because of his presence. That reputation took a hit when several riders came out with doping accusations. Then it snowballed with the Tour De France stripping his titles, followed by the damaging report from the USADA.
In terms of the legal aspect of the situation, Armstrong may testify against the cycling officials as a whistleblower. Whistleblowers usually find themselves in a precarious situation. They are usually ostracized and pushed aside as outcasts. Many whistleblowers do not have the name recognition Armstrong has or even the clout. They are regular people living their lives who happen to see something wrong and make sure it sees the light of day. Their courageous actions are met with disdain and sometimes threats of violence. Armstrong has suffered a tremendous blow in terms of clout, reputation, and respect. It is unknown how being a whistleblower, if the reporting is true, will impact that, but it should be noted the importance whistleblowers have in society and how important they are to justice being carried out.
Written by Lulaine Compere.