Grauer: One more beat of the drum
Using disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong to star in a “celebrity pickleball” fundraiser by a nonprofit is an opportunity for a teachable ethics moment by the Aspen School District.
Does the charitable end, raising money for the district by the Aspen Education Foundation, justify associating it with Armstrong, who says he would dope again?
He apologized on an Oprah Winfrey TV interview for his doping, cheating and lying as a professional cyclist: “I’m a flawed character, as I well know,” he said.
Backtracking the apology in a 2015 ABC TV interview, he justified his transgressions, saying, “If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again.”(https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/lance-armstrong-doping/story)
Yet, in the same interview he said that his biggest fear was the possibility of facing questions from his kids as they got older.
Now, Armstrong’s ethical advice to Aspen’s youth seemingly is: “It’s OK to do drugs, break the rules, lie and cheat if you believe everyone else is doing it.”
As recently as 2020, he complained about being treated unfairly, but “… circles back to his audacious creed: ‘I wouldn’t change a thing,’” said a yahoo/sports writer critiquing the ESPN TV documentary titled, “Lance.” (https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/why-do-we-keep-listening-to-lance-armstrong)
Armstrong is good with his flawed ethical values; however, that doesn’t mean that the community, The Aspen School District and The Aspen Education Foundation should treat it as acceptable in any way.
The Aspen Education Foundation should recognize its faulty choice of Armstrong as a fund raiser and return the contributions of over $25,000 back to the generous donors.
If the foundation fails to take responsibility for the refund, then the Aspen School Board should stop taking contributions from the foundation.
The board should also demand oversight on the foundations’ events, so that this kind of lapse is not repeated.