It feels like a long time ago since my post about Lance Armstrong, which speculated on his, then imminent, interview with Oprah Winfrey back in mid-January. I called for her to ask some hard-hitting questions and she certainly did that, but as I predicted, rather than put the matter to bed, the interview has opened up more questions to just how dark the history of the Texan’s drug operation was.
I presumed this would be the interview where Armstrong spoke of all the years of being wracked with guilt; I presumed this would be the turning point for him to finally be open and honest. I presumed and assumed and I made an ass out of me.
Okay, yes, he finally owned up to using performance enhancing drugs – but in doing so he wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know.
(Photo credit: Sports Illustrated’s blog)
He seemed more saddened by the fact he got caught than sorry for the actions he had taken. Lines like “It was a seventy-five million dollar day”, when talking about his sponsors calling him to tell him they were terminating his contracts are hardly going to endear him to the public. In all actuality, it seems like the whole interview was more of a ploy to allow him to compete in marathons and triathlons than an attempt to rectify his public persona.
But what bothered me most of all about the interview is how he has not been humbled by his monumental fall from grace. He still has this ‘Us versus Them’ mentality. And in the interview where he finally came clean and ‘revealed all’, you couldn’t help but feel he told a whole heap of new lies to smooth over the damages caused by his original one. When he comes out and says he didn’t dope during his return to cycling in 2009 and 2010 the word ‘bulls**t!’ instantly leapt into my head, as it did a number of times throughout the interview. I guess lying is a habit that is going to take some time to smooth out of his system but all in all, I would count the Oprah Winfrey interview as a PR fail.
Below is an ESPN interview with acclaimed sports journalist Rick Reilly who gives his reaction to the interview.