Saturday, January 12, 2013

Questions for Oprah to Ask Lance

We've all been hearing that Lance Armstrong is set to finally admit to doping and he has picked Oprah Winfrey to interview him when he admits it. NY Daily News published an article with questions that Betsy Andreu would like Oprah Winfrey to ask Lance Armstrong when Oprah interviews him at his Austin mansion on Monday. Betsy has some doozies that Oprah is sure to never ask. You can bet that if there was even a chance that Oprah would ask some of these questions, Lance would never agree to be interviewed by her. Here are Betsy's questions followed by two of my own...

1. Will you admit that the hospital incident happened and will you describe it in detail? 
In a 2006 civil case Armstrong filed against an insurer, Andreu and her husband testified that they had heard the admission. Armstrong denied the claims and embarked on a relentless campaign to discredit the Andreus... 
2. Did you intimidate or tamper with witnesses who implicated you in doping? 
The Andreus weren’t the only teammates, friends, associates or journalists who were targeted by Armstrong, according to the USADA report. The report describes chilling confrontations with cyclists Filippo Simeoni, Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer and Jonathan Vaughters, among others... 
Armstrong has had a long, bitter and well-documented feud with follow Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, who Frankie Andreu said in a USADA affidavit was also threatened: “I recall Lance saying words to the effect of, ‘Who does Greg think he is, talking about Ferrari? I’m going to take him down,’ ” Andreu says in the affidavit. 
Armstrong confronted Hamilton in an Aspen restaurant in 2011, putting his hands on Hamilton, who had given testimony in the federal investigation into Armstrong and later discussed his former teammate on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” telling him: “When you’re on the witness stand, we are going to f------ tear you apart. You are going to look like a f------ idiot.” 
Hamilton further testified that Armstrong said, “I’m going to make your life a living . . . f------ . . . hell,” according to the USADA papers.... 
Betsy Andreu told the Daily News she would follow up with this question: 
3. Why did the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Andre Birotte Jr., shelve the federal investigation into allegations that you were involved in defrauding the government, drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy? ... 
4. Do you know if the investigation was ended for political reasons? 
Certainly, Armstrong’s circle of high-priced lawyers and crisis managers have influential political connections. ... “I expected more from my government,” says Betsy Andreu. “If I was a celebrity, would they have continued? The people who put their livelihoods and reputations on the line, that made us targets. The U.S. Attorney let us all down, not to mention the case agents and everyone who worked on it.” 
And finally, Andreu would ask a personal question: 
5. How do you plan on undoing the damage you did to people, especially those who were your friends, people like Frankie?

I like Betsy's questions but I would add a couple more. Since the interview will be in his mansion, I would love for Oprah to say something like: "This is quite a mansion. Do you realize that if you didn't cheat and commit fraud that you would likely have none of this?"

I would follow it up with: "Reports say that you're worth $100 million. Has it ever occurred to you that you took that money from your competitors and others who supported you under the pretense that you weren't the fraud that you were?"

Of course, nothing close to any questions like these will be asked and for most people these questions will never occur to them. I'm not sure why society fails to see that when someone commits fraud, it's always at the expense of another. This goes for Bernie Madoff and it goes for Lance Armstrong.

Who knows who would have won those yellow jerseys if Lance didn't have the best doping system that money could buy? Sadly, we will never know...

1 comment:

  1. MZ-
    I really enjoyed reading this. Thinking through the questions that could and should be asked sheds light on the real consequences of fraud. There is no question that he would not be sitting in that mansion were it not for the fraud.