Stop taking aim at Armstrong; target Woods

Spencer Chase

Let’s play with a little hypothetical scenario.

Suppose you knew of an individual who was a fantastic tennis player – like could beat Roger Federer in his prime on a consistent basis fantastic. This tennis player has a part of his career where he just runs rampant over anything and everything in his way, and wins Wimbledon seven straight years, a feat that is just unprecedented.

But before this tennis player started that streak, he overcame two debilitating diseases that simultaneously attacked his gifted body and nearly killed him. Once his playing career began, he dedicated his life and performances to curing those debilitating diseases. Along the way of his seven-peat, he might have taken a few injections to keep his body in good repair, but he made awareness for his diseases “cool” again and raised preposterous amounts of money to help cure them.

Would you be able to overlook that cheating? And if you couldn’t bare to have the sanctity of tennis permanently scarred, could you forgive this person as a human being for all his philanthropic efforts?

Well then, how about we stop throwing Lance Armstrong under the bus?

Armstrong’s did-he-or-didn’t he with performance enhancing drugs is hardly a new story, but recently some new news came out about the infamous cyclist that just has everyone all atwitter. “Independent” testing from the United States Anti-Doping Agency and testimony from former teammates have all confirmed that Armstrong was doping during his remarkable run at the Tour de France. And let’s be clear, being accused of using steroids in cycling is about like being accused of using shoulder pads in football.

Just to be clear, I’m not upset about Armstrong getting the third-degree in the cycling world. If he was found to have been cheating, then he of course should have all of his titles and records wiped from his record. He should be banned for life from the sport and lose his invitation to the annual cyclists picnic (I’m sure they’ll miss his dynamite pistachio dip). But what about the parts of his world that have been shaken up outside of the sport?

Just so we’re clear, we’re talking about a man that cheated at a GAME, and then turned around and raised $470 million for cancer research. Should there even be debate about which is more significant? I believe somewhere around 100% of people know someone who was affected by cancer or was diagnosed themselves. And remember Livestrong bracelets? Those yellow pieces of plastic that everyone wrapped around their wrists to show that they weren’t fans of cancer?

This man was a game changer when it came to cancer research, but because of a needle prick or two, we’re writing him off as a terrible human being. Since the news of his confirmed use hit the airwaves, Armstrong has lost 10 endorsement contracts from companies like Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Oakley, among others.

When Tiger Woods had his sex addiction scandal and was fornicating with every adult actress from here to Hollywood, he lost five endorsement deals. I’m not trying to say that either Woods or Armstrong is the lesser of two evils, but why are so many companies shying away from a man that basically dedicated his life to cancer research?

As far as I’m concerned, you can take the man’s titles away. You can strip him of his victories. But when it all comes down to it, he cheated in a game in which everyone else was cheating, and then turned around and raised millions of dollars for cancer research.

Mr. Armstrong, you and I are good. Keep up the good work.