Lance Armstrong is the victim in the new lawsuit against him
February 24, 2013
Filed under Opinions
It may not come as a shock that Lance Armstrong is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Nearly a month after admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he took performance-enhancing drugs in each of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong is now facing another lawsuit.
On Friday, the U.S. government joined a lawsuit with Floyd Landis, an American cyclist who had his 2006 Tour de France title stripped due to doping, against Armstrong.
According to the New York Times, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong “took more than $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules.”
Since Armstrong admitted to doping during his time with USPS and unfairly took sponsorship money reserved for non-dopers, the feds have joined Landis’s original 2010 whistle-blower suit in order to recoup lost funds.
Though I agree that Armstrong should be reprimanded for his actions, I believe the current lawsuit against him is frivolous.
One of the biggest problems with this lawsuit is the fact of who’s involved. Landis, a doper himself who filed the lawsuit three years ago, is not one to be trusted.
According to an FBI press release, Landis was found guilty of defrauding 1,765 individuals last year. The amount Landis illegitimately received for his “Floyd Fairness Fund” totaled $478,354.
How can anyone, especially the U.S. government, work with a man who was found guilty of fraud?
The second and more major flaw is the assertion that Armstrong’s doping admission has led to a negative perception of the USPS.
I don’t know about you, but I think people are angrier with USPS for canceling Saturday delivery, not sponsoring a cheat.
To say that Armstrong profited off USPS’s sponsorship is only partially true.
Yes, Armstrong did receive $31 million in sponsorships from USPS between 2001 and 2004. However, the USPS earned more than $100 million in profits during that same period because of sponsoring Armstrong and his team, according to the New York Times.
How can the U.S. seek to take Armstrong’s salary from 2001 to 2004 when the USPS earned three times as much during that period?
If the U.S. wants to engage in a moral argument with Armstrong, then they would undoubtedly win.
It was wrong for Armstrong to dope and he did in fact defraud USPS.
If, however, the U.S. wants to engage in a contextual argument, then they would lose.
One can’t seek to keep its $100 million profits while attacking the man who was responsible for generating that money.
The only logical step would be for USPS to give the $100 million back, though it wouldn’t really matter. Armstrong has already been found guilty in the court of public opinion.
Shane Newell is a sophomore journalism major and an assistant city editor for the Daily 49er.