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Let's Be Real: Lance And The Mixed Message

11:26 PM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -  Lance Armstrong was once called a hero and an inspiration. But now that Lance has admitted that drugs helped him win those seven Tours de France, the words liar, cheat and fraud come to mind.

But it's not that black and white. Far from it. When watching Lance Armstrong win those seven Tours was just so much fun? Sure we're disappointed and angry about how he did it, but is it possible to hate the doper and love the doper's performance?

In sports, the answer is yes. So what, the baseball writers don't think guys like Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa belong in the Hall of Fame. Steroids, they say. Fine. But even that rejection can't erase the memory of that one magical season when home run records fell and baseball itself was revived.

Nobody likes a cheater but everyone cheers for that transcendent performance,  perhaps made possible by your friendly neighborhood pharmacist. It is the epitome of a mixed message.

And while we are quick to condemn the competitor who gives in to the temptation to take a pill, how many of us would have the strength to walk away from our dreams if that pill was in fact the only way we could compete?

I don't condone what Lance did. But I do understand he was part of culture of winning is everything that's as old organized sports. And far more complicated than black and white. 

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