Shawn Klein on Lance Armstrong’s Doping Confession
Lance Armstrong’s much-publicized interview with Oprah, in which he reportedly confesses to using performance enhancing drugs, will air tonight (January 17, 9pm ET, OWN). CNN asked columnists, authors, and sportswriters whether we should “give Lance another chance.” CEE professor Shawn Klein was among the responses CNN published. Dr. Klein wrote:
“After years of adamant denials and protestations of his innocence, Lance Armstrong has reportedly come forward to admit his use of prohibited performance enhancing drugs. If Armstrong is sincerely contrite and forthright in his apology, most people, including myself, will forgive him for his use of prohibited drugs.
He cheated in a sport known for its widespread cheating; that doesn’t justify his use but it does put his actions into an understandable context that makes it easier to excuse the use. Further, if Armstrong cooperates with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, his lifetime ban from cycling ought to be reduced to something more reasonable.
The more troubling aspects of the Armstrong case are the allegations that he harassed and intimidated team members and potential whistle-blowers. Violating the arbitrary rules of a sport shows a character flaw and poor judgment, but it is hard to see who else is truly harmed by such actions. But to threaten, intimidate and coerce others (either to use performance enhancing drugs themselves or to cover up his team’s use) causes real harm.
Even if only some of these reports are accurate, Armstrong will have to do more than sit on Oprah’s couch to earn forgiveness.”