Nike on Armstrong: Just dope it?

Nike: if you deny cheating, then you didn’t.

In the wake of the USADA report detailing evidence [from numerous first-hand and unimpeached witnesses] of Lance Armstrong’s doping activities, the Washington Times reports Armstrong-sponsor Nike’s reaction:

…Nike, meanwhile, said they are saddened by the situation but that their position remains unchanged. “Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering in his position. Nike plans to continue support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors,” said spokesman KeJuan Wilkins”… [Emphasis added]

But Jerry Sandusky maintains his innocence, too, yet was just sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Denial is a state of mind, not a standard of guilt or innocence. Woe is Nike.

Update (10/17/12): Nike ends contract with Lance Armstrong

29 thoughts on “Nike on Armstrong: Just dope it?”

  1. Innocent till proven guilty. Sandusky was found guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers. Lance Armstrong was not. Of course neither was OJ or Casey Anthony.

  2. I see you missed the part in the story were Lance had his teammates , also doped to the gills (allegedly), make sure he won by not competing against him.
    As that team was the only one with such deep and structural doping (allegedly) the others stood no chance.
    Sure others doped, but many got caught and those who didn’t weren’t using it to the degree Lance was.(allegedly)

  3. Lance wasn’t doing anything that most of the other contenders were and are doing. At least one of his competitors died from drug use (PBO) and I would be surprised if you could find a top competitor who hasn’t used some form of performance enhancing procedure or drug. Drug use or no his wins are an amazing achievement.

  4. Hey Matt, I have to buy in on the argument. Aussie team member said yes they cheated. He said he is ashamed. End of story. Oh, and yes, they were not the only cheats. Maybe it doesn’t really matter though anyway.

  5. He was a mediocre runner in the early nineties at best till he claimed he had cancer and suddenly he jumps to winning tour after tour. One must be really credulous to accept he did that without help.

  6. I have no idea what the rules for international cycling were when he last won the Tour. I also don’t need to prove or defend anything. It is incumbent on those who think he is guilty to prove their case. If you can’t cite the specific rule that he violated as it was when he was actively competing, your full of it.

  7. Petrossa, you can only cheat so much, and a number of the lower positions were voided due to discovery of cheating by the other competitors. It was still quite a feat of human endurance and strength. Unfortunately, he had help getting over the edge. However, that only detracts so much from his achievements.

  8. The rules were clear about what was against the rules. You can’t argue that line. Anything that you can pull up is loophole abuse AT BEST.

    Sorry, but stop trying to defend the indefensible.

  9. ogcone,

    Blood doping is a rules violoation now. The real question is was it specifically prohibited when Armstrong won the Tour de France.

  10. Ben,

    It all depends on how the rules were written at the time.

    This isn’t just about the statute of limitations violation. To me this whole thing smacs of an ex post facto violation as well.

  11. Ogcone. The U.S. doesn’t constantly try to show that it’s heroes have feet of clay. It’s the media who do that.

  12. That is actually a good point – why is “blood doping” considered to be illegal? Especially when other methods to artificially raise red blood cells (altitude training and the simulated altitude rooms that athletes sleep in) are not?

  13. I am bothered that the U.S. constantly tries to show that its heroes have feet of clay. Are other countries’ entrants in the Tour de France being subjected to the same intense scrutiny as Armstrong? While I agree that doping with transfusions probably violated the “rules” of the race, it would be interesting to know how widespread the practice was among entrants–especially if tests at the time could not catch it. I have no opinion as to whether Armstrong engaged in it or not, but I suspect that if he did, a large percentage of those who came in close behind him also engaged in the same practices. Moreover, unlike the use of steroids, growth hormone, and so on, blood doping seems unlikely to be picked up by teen athletes. Also, I haven’t heard anyone say that the practice is harmful (so why is it illegal?).

  14. The North Vietnamese were accused of holding POW beyond the end of the war. When no evidence to support the accusation was found it was because “they are really good at hiding our guys.” The same pattern applied to Iraq’s WMDs.

  15. You have to understand how these tests are done. They look for elevated blood count, high oxygen levels, etc. You cannot look for substances because one of the actions accused of was blood transfusions. The warning levels and test methods were well known to all competitors, so it was certainly possible to just keep your peaks below that level (don’t copy the paper, just a few problems). I agree, the initial accusations appeared baseless to the point of harassment (with a splash of witch hunt), and if you did not keep up with the case, it would be very easy to get the idea that it remained that way. However, there is a sufficient mass of evidence in the form of confessions has been accumulated that it cannot be ignored.

    I’m not saying it wasn’t a witch hunt (which it was), or that they did not violate their protocol by not observing the statute of limitations (which they did), but the evidence is pretty clear that Armstrong is guilty.

  16. Omnologos, sufficient witnesses giving detailed timelines can pass a reasonable doubt test. Especially when the testing procedures that we were relying on have been shown to be inadequate (ie: they didn’t test for substances, but enhancements, so cheating can be done in spades as long as the peak levels were not over the top, and both method and limit were well known to all). Given the number of people arrayed against him with effectively no defense, I would be hard pressed to defend Armstrong in this trial.

    I was initially highly skeptical of this, but with the release of further information, I have to say that at least the balance of evidence is very clear.

  17. From what i’ve read sofar the evidence and witness testimony make for a pretty damning case. Many have been convicted on much less.
    Being smart on evading dope tests isn’t proof of innocence.
    Furthermore that many wins in a row is a bit too much to be reasonable given the enormous onslaught on the health the Tour de France causes.

    With training and all you hardly have time to recuperate. Even more unlikely IF he indeed had cancer which still is only his word.

  18. Clearly we really don’t know what Lance may or may not have done but “getting caught”? He underwent hundreds of tests and PASSED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! The regiment that Lance went through was astounding. As a competitive cyclist when this first started, I saw where he was accused based on a random unidentifable voluntary test that several cyclists did. There were never any names attached to the samples, no traceability, but some Euros decided he must have been the one that failed. I guess that sounds reasonable. He was fighting a stacked deck. It is kind of like the climate sceptics that should be put in prison for their views paid off by big oil. I’ll give Lance the benefit of the doubt. Good for Nike.

  19. The parallels between the Armstrong and Sandusky cases are very interesting.

    Armstrong was under a cloud for years and subject to scrutiny and testing without being caught. Sandusky was under a cloud from 1998 when a mother was upset about her son showering him. Her concern was backed up by a professional who suggested Sandusky’s actions indicated a pedophile. Two police people hid in the mother’s house as she tried to get Sandusky to say something incriminating. He didn’t. A second professional said Sandusky was a normal guy and the local district attorney cleared Sandusky. Yet years later Freeh said that Sandusky did a criminal act in 1989. Over the years Sandusky was observed and no child reported any of the acts testified to in Sandusky’s criminal trial. There was a 2001 report of a boy in a shower. Mike McQueary said nothing of sexual acts to the three people he talked to at the time: hid father, a doctor friend of the family, and coach Paterno. Yet Freeh found a crime somehow occured in 2001. A claim of anal rape was charged against Sandusky based solely on McQueary. Sandusky was aquited on that charge. Finding out how the anal rape charge got there will show that investigators were distorting evidence to fit their imaginations. Sandusky is completely innocent beyond all doubt.

    The “years-later” stories against Armstrong are so similar to the nonsense in the recovered memory cases of years ago. There were thousands of cases based on a recovered memory fad. They have been completely debunked.

    By the way, Freeh’s assertions of crimes for which no evidence existed was the bases of the NCAA’s actions against Penn State.

  20. As far as I understand there is no way Armstrong can defend himself, because it’s all based on zero non-witness evidence. IOW it wouldn’t pass the “beyond reasonable doubt” litmus test, but a court case would surely drain his resources.

    It’s like Schrödinger’s cyclist, doped and clean at the same time.

  21. I have no doubt that Lance used “enhancing” methods. However, unless that is proven in court, he is innocent UNTIL proven guilty. Act accordingly.
    You would wish the courts did the same to you. And, unless I am mistaken, there is a seven year rule that says one cannot take away the cycling trophy after more than 7 years have elapsed. Besides, Usada does not have the authorithy to strip anything from anybody.

  22. So what you’re saying is, WADA and UCI testing is…wait for it…”Junk Science”! Bada Bing!

    The jury finds the defendant guilty due to their belief that DNA testing is Junk Science and the testimony of convicted felons is way more credible.


  23. So what we now know is that WADA and UCI testing procedures were/are worthless, and that if you intimidate witnesses enough you can get them to say anything. And Tygart has a trophy to hang on his wall. And at a cost to taxpayers of like 17 million dollars. I will sleep so much better. .

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