Meredith C. Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
“All of this negative press is BS,” Lindsay Lohan tweeted last week. “Whenever I’m doing great, people fabricate lies. It’s such a shame. I’m just sayin’.”
The woe-is-me statement came on the heels of news that police questioned the oft-troubled actress in yet another alleged jewelry theft case. Which was on the heels of yet another after-hours incident in which witnesses said she threw a full-blown temper tantrum in a nightclub. Which was on the heels of yet another car accident in which she cried the car was at fault. Which was on the heels of yet a different car accident in which she blamed another driver.
In virtually every case in which Lindsay has been accused of something – bad behavior, immature behavior, illegal behavior or immoral behavior – she cries foul and points the finger at everyone but herself.
Which is kind of the same thing with Lance Armstrong.
There’s no question that people in the spotlight almost always have some number of detractors and people who wish them more failure than success. But at what point do Lance and Lindsay come to the self-realization that, when you meet multiple jerks and liars in a day, almost every single day, throughout the course of nearly your entire career, perhaps the jerk and liar is actually you?
Clearly Lindsay surrounds herself with parasites looking to nip away at or share in her tiny but still-present slice of fame and infamy. Some of Lance’s accusers are admitted dopers themselves.
However, in the case of both Lance and Lindsay, there are also plenty of credible handlers, doctors, teammates, acquaintances and friends who have allegedly come forward with what appear to be plausible statements in which they say they saw the troublesome, cheating or otherwise illicit behavior firsthand. While it’s possible that some of them have lied, it seems even more likely that even more of them are telling the truth.
Lindsay isn’t saving lives. And based on her career trajectory over the past several years, she’s barely even entertaining them other than through tabloid fodder.
But Lance has touched and inspired lives through his cancer fights and Tour de France victories, and is helping improve even more lives through his Livestrong cancer foundation. Taking the latter into special consideration, it’s hard to imagine that there are enough cold, heartless and calculating people trying to falsely undo him, knowing full well that if he fails, then his work on behalf of cancer sufferers will suffer likewise. Does Lance really think we believe that there are that many evildoers who, in effect, have it out for people trying to survive cancer?
While many athletes and celebrities will always have some amount of haters as a matter of course, the kind of hate Lance has engendered is staggering, especially if what’s been said about him has been entirely invented, as he claims with a straight face. If every last one of Lindsay and Lance’s accusers are really lying, surely Oliver Stone would have movies about them in the works, because the conspiracies that both the actress and athlete have claimed about and against themselves are such that even the staunchest JFK-assassination theorists would be licking their lips.
Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of New York Road Runners, calls his situation “sad,” and argued to the New York Daily News that Lance “missed an opportunity to ‘really make a difference.'”
“I think he has the platform and the credibility to put that bully pulpit he has had to work in a positive way. If he had in fact cheated and would be willing to talk about it, the risk and the downside, and become a symbol that reminds people that it’s not worth it. If it is a situation where Lance may have violated the rules and cheated, what an unbelievable opportunity it would be to tell the story of the importance of playing clean,” she said.
What separates Lance from athletic dopers such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is that he’s been a hero to more than just sports fans. His fights against his own cancer coupled with his astronomical career milestones and the staggering sums he’s raised on behalf of his foundation have made an impressive dent in the cancer-fighting community. Which means his failure to admit even an iota of wrongdoing is a failure on behalf of cycling fans and gravely ill fans. And that’s not just sad, but heartbreaking and possibly even life changing to those who might just not be able to bear any more unnecessary bad news.
While plenty are standing behind him and screaming that the system is flawed, probably even more would shout their support for him if Lance said the system is flawed, but also admitted he is, too.
Until that day comes – and it seems unlikely it will, at least anytime soon – Lance has kind of shown he’s no better, and maybe just as low as Lindsay Lohan.
Which is a sad day for cycling enthusiasts and cancer crusaders, albeit a doubly great one for the tabloids.
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