Sports Commentary 1/18/13
The lies of Lance Armstrong…and many like him
If there’s one thing that can be said about our society, it’s that we are very forgiving. We love to embrace those who have fallen from grace and Lance Armstrong is playing us very well. There was a time when we never would have thought Pete Rose would be one to give life advice to anyone, but, even after gambling on baseball and lying to us right up to the moment telling the truth could result in a payday at the bookstores, here he is, back in our good graces and on T-V with his own reality show. Why wouldn’t Pete be moved to tell Lance to just tell the truth and everyone will love him again? Last night Lance took that first step back toward our welcoming arms when he admitted in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey that he was indeed doping when he won all seven of those Tour de France titles that he’s since been stripped of. One clean admission after 10 years of denials and he’ll soon be “Our Lance” again. It’s our M.O. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was at the center of an, as yet, unsolved double homicide, so close, in fact, he was spattered with blood. He managed to buy his way out of any responsibility without giving any testimony and this week he’s the feel good story of the AFC Championship Game after announcing this will be his final post season. Last week’s division round game was preceded with Lewis getting a big hug from none other than commissioner Roger Goodell and if the Ravens beat the Pats on Sunday Lewis will be the media’s go to guy for Super Bowl XLVII. Lewis is far from alone. America never loves it’s heroes more than when they’ve fallen. That obnoxious “In the hole!” loudmouth still follows Tiger Woods around as he continues to command the biggest galleries on the PGA Tour and the real young star of golf, Rory McIlroy, who has actually won some majors in the last five years, is forced to share center stage. Jose Canseco has made a lucrative second career out of being America’s favorite lovable buffoon and Mark McGwire is still gainfully employed in Major League Baseball. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens just this month recieved the obligatory slap on the wrist from the baseball writers, but both will eventually get their just desserts in the Hall of Fame. Try as he might Lawrence Taylor has just never been able to make himself despicable enough to fall from the top of every New York Giants fan’s “all time favorite” list or not to be invited to every gathering of everyone’s “all time” team. Charles Barkley turned an ugly Martin Luther King Day incident at Madison Square Garden into a lifetime of invading our living rooms under the false pretense he actually has something worthwhile to say. In the incident that made “Sir Charles” so lovable he racially berated a white referee as he chased him down the runway to the lockerooms. If the situation had been reversed, a white player and a black referee, the player would have never been seen or heard again, but we love Charles so much he frequently crosses sports. Why limit him just to the only one he played professionally? The worse the behavior the more we embrace the repentence. Welcome back Lance. It’s going to feel so good to hug you again. You might want to call Manti T’eo and tell him, no matter how this made up girl friend thing works out, we’ll still love him. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.