The NY Times is reporting that they interviewed one of Lance Armstrong's former teammates who corroborated the story that Floyd Landis is telling about rampant doping on the U.S. Postal team under Lance's encouragement. Here is the key quote from the article:
A former teammate of Armstrong said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he had spoken with investigators. He said he detailed some of his own drug use, as well as the widespread cheating that he said went on as part of the Postal Service team — all of which he said was done with Armstrong’s knowledge and encouragement.The NY Times article is also reporting that others who are privy to the details of Jeffrey Novitzky's investigation have revealed that additional US Postal team members are corroborating Floyd's story. According to the article "prosecutors and investigators have more than Landis’s account to go on, according to the two people with knowledge of the investigation."
As I've partially detailed previously in this blog, there is a fairly long list of others who accused Lance of doping before Landis did. Even with this long list, many people refuse to believe Lance is guilty. In my mind, whether or not Lance is ever proven in a court of law or otherwise to be guilty of doping, we all ought to decide whether these allegations are the proverbial smoke that suggests "where there is smoke, there is fire" or is there another reasonable explanation. I explain below why we ought to make this decision. First, what other explanations are there?
Lance hired a high powered defense attorney (as described here) who is attempting to provide another explanation. The NY Times article states that Lance's attorney is saying that "any cyclists who claim that Armstrong doped were not telling the truth." The story goes that the investigators:
“want (other cyclists) to incriminate Lance Armstrong and that’s my concern,” Daly said, ... “To the extent that there’s anyone besides Floyd Landis saying things, the bottom line is, if you take away the soap opera and look at the scientific evidence, there is nothing.”So what does this mean? This is Lance's best alternative to the proverbial smoke leading to a fire. The long list of people who have accused Lance including former teammates and friends, all in addition to Floyd Landis (who is revealing his own character flaws by telling his story) are all lying. Why? That's the question Lance can't answer.
The only thing I can imagine to answer the "why" question is that all these people are evil and out to get Lance. They no longer consider him a friend, and, in fact, they view him as an enemy. Why? Hate. So much hate that they are willing to lie about him and destroy all the good things he stands for. They probably don't want Lance to fight cancer any more. As you can see, any potential answer to the "why" question is absurd!
What about the point that Lance's attorney made that since there is no scientific evidence supporting these claims, Lance must be innocent? Apparently, the stories from former teammates and other cyclists about how they were able to get around the tests are also part of the conspiracy.
In the end, what I think Lance's attorney is revealing is that Lance is quickly running out of ways to deflect reasonable suspicion. In other words, a jury might find the evidence to be sufficient to remove any reasonable doubt. Anyone who is a reasonable thinker and isn't biased by years of wanting to believe Lance was a miracle probably concluded already that there is no way Lance could have won seven titles against competitors who were doping without also cheating. All the other stories are just corroborating what many people knew for some time.
Even so, the truth is sometimes hard to face. I personally have been slow to take down my many Lance Armstrong posters in my bike room and his calendars in my office. However, they are all down now.
When my wife tried to give my Lance Armstrong books away, I told her I wanted to keep them for now. I was inspired by those books. I was also inspired by the DVD's I bought that document Lance's seven wins. I confess that I haven't decided what to do with those yet.
In the end, I now know that I was inspired by a fraudster. That is the reason we all ought to decide if the smoke leads to a fire or not. If we don't then we risk being duped by a conman. Do you want to believe a fairy tale? If so, you can start singing "Santa Claus is coming to town."