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Ovation: Cheating Armstrong Sued For Winnings.

02/08/2013

ArmstrongCHEATERI imagine we’ve all met a cheater.  Not a person who has a secret sexual affair but a person who is less than honest in a quest toward a goal.  Maybe it was someone who filed an insurance claim that they shouldn’t have or parked in a handicapped parking space when they were perfectly able to walk from another.  Perhaps they lied about their age, used a fake ID or slipped themselves an extra five-hundred-dollar bill when  they were the “banker” playing Monopoly.  Even The Golden Girls encountered indiscretions …

Rose Nyland: “You can’t buy from a scalper, that’s a crime!”
Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak: “So is eating grapes at the supermarket but you do that all the time.”

While these lapses in good judgment shouldn’t be examined alongside Ponzi schemes and other white-collar crimes, they certainly can’t compare to the biggest cheater in recent history … Lance Armstrong.

An insurance company in Dallas has filed suit against Armstrong seeking the return of twelve million dollars in bonuses the cyclist was paid for winning the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004.  They also hope to recoup legal costs and interest.  Armstrong has to decide if he will return the money or risk further damage to his reputation by fighting the case.  If he chooses to fight, he will be trying to keep twelve million dollars that he won by cheating.  Last month, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted that he took performance enhancing drugs throughout his career.

“By now, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong perpetuated what may well be the most outrageous, cold-hearted and elaborate lie in the history of sports,” says the lawsuit filed in Dallas.

Attorneys for Armstrong insist that the case is closed and cannot be reopened under terms of a previous settlement with SCA Promotions, a company that indemnifies sports-related businesses against losses.  Tailwind Sports, the owner of Armstrong’s cycling team, bought a sort of insurance policy and, after Armstrong kept winning, made claims against that policy to have SCA cover the bonuses.  When SCA ultimately became suspicious, an investigation into Armstrong’s career quietly began.

Since last month’s admission was a direct contradiction to his testimony in a 2005 appearance under oath, it’s likely that the settlement agreement will be considered null and void and the case will be reopened.  I imagine it’s unlikely that he’ll get to keep any of the money.  I certainly don’t think this cheater should get to prosper.

Lance Armstrong was a role model to a generation of young athletes, as well as cancer survivors, the world over.  Going forward, his story can be a lesson in virtue and the importance of honesty and fairness in sports.  Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, his riches-to-rags story can serve as an example of what not to do to get ahead.

“Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” Epigrams by Sir John Harington of the early 17th century.

Do you think Armstrong should have to pay back the ill-gotten winnings?

UPDATE 05/28/13 – Nike cuts ties to Livestrong, Lance Armstrong’s charity.

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From → Ovations

9 Comments
  1. If the cheating had been admitted to/proven at the time I’d say yes but all these years later I think that company and most others that reward LA have made more money off of him then they have paid him. Are they going to pay back all their customers who bought their products and services because they used LA? I doubt it. No, he shouldn’t have to pay it back now.

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  2. I kinda agree with Sean, though i’d like to see him punished a bit more for trying to parlay his cheating into hero-dom.

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    • I see where you guys are coming from and, while I’ve always thought that if the other cyclists didn’t complain we shouldn’t either, the fact remains that he lied about what he was doing. There is no statute of limitations on lying.

      The defendants didn’t lie to their customers and they didn’t misrepresent themselves to their clients. I see this situation as being no different than an insurance company that pays on a claim when a house burns down but then wants their money back when it’s revealed that the homeowner set the fire.

      Prizes are taken back from winners all the time when it’s discovered that they cheated (Milli Vanilli, Vanessa Williams, etc.) and, whether you think he actually cheated or not, the fact remains that Armstrong lied and lied and lied and lied again under oath. If he really didn’t think he had done anything wrong he wouldn’t have worked so hard and for so long to conceal the truth.

      Does an honest man lie to a judge and tell the truth to Oprah Winfrey?

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  3. Lene permalink

    He’s a creep. He lied and cheated to get that money and I think he should have to pay it back..

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  4. Good post. There needs to be some culpability for cheating, otherwise other people will do so. We let athletes and actors get away with things that the Average Joe would not. Hugh Curtler has great post on Ray Lewis’ alleged murder of two people before the Ravens first Super Bowl win, e.g. And, I just watched the documentary film Mea Maxima Culpa regarding the orchestrated hiding of pedaphilia over decades by the Catholic Church. I encourage everyone to watch this on HBO On Demand. You will really get a sense of what cheating is all about. BTG

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  5. He confessed and admitted his lies and deceit publicly. I’m not convinced he is sorry. He abused his ‘celebrity status powers’ by making life miserable for many. He needs to make some meaningful restitution over the long term and banned from competing in any sport.

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  6. I am so sorry hearing about how despicable Lance Armstrong is.

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