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Gini Dietrich

The Lance Armstong PR Crisis

By: Gini Dietrich | October 25, 2012 | 
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At the end of August, the New York Times broke the story that Lance Armstrong dropped his fight against doping charges and my Facebook and Twitter streams, inbox, and text messages were busy with, “What do you think?” and links to various articles.

I read, and responded, to them all.

And I defended the cyclist and creator of Livestrong.

My stance was, as a business owner, there have been many times we could have won a lawsuit in court (cough, Macy’s, cough), but our attorney very wisely advised to let it go because it would have put us out of business as we fought…just to prove we were right.

Sometimes you have to make decisions that are best for the health of the organization, even if it means – in the court of public opinion – it looks like you’re admitting guilt.

And that’s what I thought Lance was doing – not admitting guilt, but putting his focus on something else.

My Cycling History

My entire life, my dad has been a cyclist. For many years it was out of necessity because we had only one car and a gazillion kids. But then he upgraded his bike, got into the Tour de France, and began to compete.

I started cycling eight years ago because, after three marathons and countless other races, my knee was scoped one too many times and the doctor said it was time to hang up my running shoes.

Between taking up cycling and Lance Armstrong and his Tour races, my dad and I had something else to bond over that wasn’t work or family.

I remember how much fun we had the day Lance was climbing a mountain and he looked back at the field, grinned, and rode up over the top to descend minutes ahead of his competitors. We still talk about that.

And now his Tour wins have been stripped. He had to remove “Seven time Tour de France winner” from his Twitter bio. And it all makes me want to cry.

It’s funny I’m this emotional about a person I’ve never met. It’s funny I want to cry at all the allegations that sure do make him look guilty. It’s funny I get so defensive when someone says, “I told you so.” (Heck, I get downright angry, not defensive.)

This is a very hard blog post for me to write. I don’t want to hear, “I told you so!” from any of you. I know, I know, I know.

The Lance Armstrong PR Crisis

But the reason I’m writing it is because Lance – the brand (sorry, I know some of you don’t believe in personal brands, but he is one) – has a huge PR crisis on his hands.

I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’ve read everything that’s been written about it. I know his PR team is the best in the industry. I don’t understand why he’s silent.

Sure, I get anything he says, tweets, writes, Facebooks, or pins can – and will – be held against him in a court of law. His attorneys probably have him on lock-down.

But I have to believe they knew this was coming. There is one person you can be totally honest with when you’re in trouble…and that’s your attorney. Surely they have a plan for how to deal with allegations should they be made public.

And their PR counsel surely was ready for this, as well.

So where is he?

Other than changing his Twitter bio, he hasn’t tweeted anything in a week.

He hasn’t talked to reporters. He hasn’t posted anything on Facebook.

He’s completely silent.

He’s pulling a Tiger Woods.

And I don’t get it.

The court of public opinion is as important (if not more these days) as any court of law. He has more than three million Twitter followers. Imagine if just one of them, who believes he’s being made the scapegoat for an entire industry of dopers, were to end up on his jury.

My Recommendation

If he’s guilty (I’m still not willing to admit it), he needs to come out and say so.

It’s going to hurt.

He already has former sponsors asking for their money back. He’s already lost Nike, Anheuser-Busch, and Oakley. He’s not allowed to race ever again. He was stripped of his titles. Livestrong is distancing themselves from him. It can’t get much worse.

Now he needs to come forward and say, “I did this. I’m sorry.” And let his fans know how sorry he is so we can all move on. Heck, so he can move on.

There isn’t a story once a brand apologizes. Say you’re sorry and let the media move on to the next big crisis.

I’ll still wear my Livestrong bracelet. I’ll still count Lance as one of my cycling heroes. And I’ll feel better finally knowing the truth directly from the horse’s mouth.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

144 comments
Sara F. Hawkins
Sara F. Hawkins

Gini, I'm with you and not ready to give in either. But it's easy to understand why Lance isn't saying anything. He's been claiming his innocence for years and yet WADA and USADA have been going at him like they're staking a serial killer.

 

The US Justice Dept. investigated him and closed their case without charges. Seemingly, Justice was satisfied that Lance didn't do anything criminal or that they wouldn't have enough evidence to win a case against them. With the Justice department there was a sense that they'd have to convince an impartial tribunal by, at least, "a preponderance of the evidence" or at most "beyond a reasonable doubt". Whichever their standard, they didn't feel they could meet it with the evidence they gathered. WADA and USADA don't have the same standards.

 

Why should Lance continue to proclaim his innocence? He's been doing it for years and USADA didn't seem to care. Why should Lance appeal? He won't get an impartial tribunal. The testimony will be from people for whom objective information exists that they doped and in exchange for lighter sentences may have given USADA what USADA wanted to hear. The truthfulness of which we may never know.

 

Why would Lance now come forward and say that he's lied these past years and, in fact, he doped? The fact is that there are no blood tests that evidence he had banned substances. The only evidence is from men who may have been trying to protect their own personal interests.

 

Why does Lance need to admit to something he didn't do? He has proclaimed his innocence and we still don't believe him. We've decided he doped and now want him to agree with us. In the US it's up to accusing party to prove their case, not for the defendant to disprove it.

 

This isn't a geometric theorem or hypothesis. Doping is a serious allegation. Lance has spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to clear his name. At some point you have to realize that it doesn't matter because people have already decided you're guilty.

 

This is a perfect example that sometimes it won't matter how much you manage your reputation when someone bigger, more powerful and wealthier is intent on taking you down.

 

As for telling his lawyer if he really did dope, that's not how criminal lawyers work. Criminal lawyers don't want their clients to tell them if they committed the crime. If they did, the lawyer wouldn't be able to offer any defense and would be ethically bound to notify the court. Criminal lawyers' jobs are to cast reasonable doubt and make the gov't prove their client did what is alleged. A criminal lawyer doesn't need to prove their client didn't do it. But that's what many are asking of Lance and his team.

 

The court of public opinion doesn't have the same standards and a court of law. That's how society can convict people using conjecture, mere allegations, and false information. Criminals go free every day (see Casey Anthony) despite what the public believes, because our legal system has a very high standard that can't always be met when there is only circumstantial evidence and testimony by unbelievable witnesses. It's not right that killers go free, but we've accepted it as the price to pay for keeping innocent people out of prison. We've seen examples of hundreds of people who've been convicted of crimes they didn't commit yet spent decades in prison, solely based on tainted evidence or an overzealous investigator or prosecutor. While Lance isn't sitting in a prison cell, he's certainly paying the price for being unable to prove the unprovable.

 

As for the PR, Lance has been out there telling his story yet it hasn't mattered. What would one more press release do to help? It would come off as insincere and contrived. It would be picked apart and dissected more than an 8th grade fetal pig. Nothing he says will placate the naysayers and supporters won't care what his scripted message says, so why do anything? Lance doesn't control the conversation and no amount of PR is going to change that. No one gave a care about grown men riding their bike for 2,000 miles every summer in France until this cancer survivor did the impossible. Cancer was pinkwashed and spoken in hushed tones. Few organization existed to help cancer patients and their families with real solutions and funds until Livestrong came around. Lance moved talking about cancer from behind closed doors to a front-and-center conversation. The assumption, by some, that all this (including Livestrong) is ill-gotten is their opinion and unsubstantiated by provable facts. Unfortunately, if we say it and write it enough and it shows up on Wikipedia then it must be true. The power of the media (traditional and social) to do good is equal to its power to destroy.

EricAgnew
EricAgnew

@700espn @ginidietrich @jeffespo *sigh* hate to see that its true, but #LanceLied.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@SandiAmorim Thank you! It's been rough in the comments

djenningspr
djenningspr

I still want to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as well.  What Lance Armstrong did for cycling in those seven years competing at the Tour, was unbelievable.  Who can forget the year he drove off the course, narrowly avoiding a crash to finish the stage and ultimately win the tour.  When he fought the criticisim day in and day out that no one could pull through what he pulled through and compete, let alone win, I was cheering like everyone else.  I would love to see him apologize, but I seriously doubt I'll see that day come.  I just hope that all of Lance's sponsors that are demanding their money back, use it to fund cancer research, or contribute to Livestrong.  Livestrong needs to stand on its own without Lance now.  And for me, that means removing the bracelet.  The same bracelet I put on days after it was introduced.  The same one Lance wore with pride at the Tour, and no one could find one, unless you were willing to pay $10-15 on eBay.  They need a new ambassador(s) and a new way of connecting beyond the bracelet.  Thanks for writing this Gini, I've personally struggled with this as well but I'm not sure an apology from Lance will help erase the disappointment he's created.  I wanted to believe I was seeing something remarkable, real and unrepeatable.  Now, I'm left looking for a new hero that has a stronger life lesson to teach kids. One that isn't about winning at all costs, but that teaches you, you can win without cheating or lying.

GNC_Dave
GNC_Dave

@ginidietrich love it. I'm a fan like you. Reading the Tyler Hamilton book to try and sort out what I really think.

Tinu
Tinu

I don't want to believe he's guilty either. And while there may be things tat look like evidence against him mounting... Having tested false positive twice And been given steroids in the hospital before, I still cant let go of the possibility that there's been some mistake. At the same time I don't think good deeds wipe out the bad if he isn't. And I feel like, somehow, we deserve Some answer. But it's like you said, he may be getting some advice that protects the organization & the people it helps, even if he is guilty and Wants to unburden himself. From the outside we can't know how simple or complex it is.

AmandaOleson
AmandaOleson

I thought we decided to call not saying a word about your predicament "Pulling a Favre," @ginidietrich. Remember how that turned out? Peachy. :)

 

(I know it's not the same. I just wanted to remind you about calling it pulling a Favre.)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@janesmallfield Thanks! I'm glad there are a few of us left

Anthony_Rodriguez
Anthony_Rodriguez

I like what Malcolm Gladwell has said about this Lance Armstrong saga. When he was cycling, EVERYONE was using PEDs. And since the use of PEDs was so pervasive in cycling (more than 20 people in the indictment admitted it) it was an even playing field. Armstrong was just the best at using them and won 7 Tours de France because of it. And now that they've stripped the titles, a total of what, 3, people have won the Tour in its history.

 

No matter what happened, you can't be a revisionist historian. Major League Baseball hasn't erased all of the records that were broken during the steroids era. Everyone still knows Lance Armstrong was the most dominating cyclist in the history of the sport. Whether he admits it or not, it's still not going to change that fact, and no one has come close to matching it. 

juliansummerhayes
juliansummerhayes

As a former sports lawyer with a specialism in anti-doping, he has more than a PR crises on his hands. I have read the USADA file, and even though he passed all the doping controls (almost), Lance looks guilty of organising a very sophisticated doping programme. The sooner he comes clean the better. In fact with ASO et al now likely to begin legal proceedings, he will have no choice unless he wants to find himself on the end of some very nasty summary judgements which could lead to his bankruptcy. Just wait until US postal climbs into the ring. I could go on but I frankly don't have the inclination. It is really, really sad particularly as someone who has a huge amount of respect for him as a cancer survivor and founder of Livestrong.

 

Julian.

magriebler
magriebler

Remember that old song, "I need a hero?"

We all need heroes. We need people with tremendous capacity (talent, money, influence) to make the world a better, more hopeful place and, by association, make us better people. So when they fall of the pedestals we so carefully built for them, it hurts. It hurts because we've forged a relationship that becomes meaningful to the way we live. Who wouldn't cheer for a young man who survived cancer and went on to win 7 of the biggest titles in sports? I did. I wore my yellow bracelet with pride.

I'm with you, Gini. I want him to come clean, own up to his part in this mess and talk about what he'll do to restore some decency to cycling. But I don't think he will, because I think the Lance we thought we knew was actually the product of a very well-oiled publicity machine. This is the real Lance we're seeing now, unfortunately, and the world is a poor place because of it.

I think it's time to stop looking for heroes in sports. The performance pressures are just too great and the chemical solutions too alluring.

Carmelo
Carmelo

Maybe this is off topic but all I can think of right now is; why do we need role models and heroes? Why are we so obsessed with winning, and being the best in the world? And does any of this mindset we have contribute to the cheating? Shoot, i'm not pointing any fingers! We all seem to do this. What is it?

 

Yeah, i know we want to feel good and imagine we're a part of this winning and success. But, with our beloved sports teams and heroes aren't we often building them up to untenable heights? And then when they succumb to the pressures we crush them. God, no, I'm not condoning any of the cheating. I just can't help wondering and speaking up about our role in it all.

 

Sure, we can play our pick-up games of basketball, ride our bikes, play our tennis matches, and compete without drugs. Most of us don't have millions of dollars and untold fame on the line.

 

it's easy to philosophically say that professionals don't have to go to the extent they do. That we can have our heroes and "gods" and expect them to rebuff the temptations to use whatever means available to stay on their thrones but are we fooling ourselves?

 

I think this is why so many of the younger generation are saying "so what?" Let them cheat. I just want to see great competition, home runs, records being broken, etc. This newer mindset rubs me wrong but I'm beginning to see why many are starting to think this way. If they don't, they feel there will be no one left to idolize.

 

And that brings this full circle. Do we really need to have these heroes? (Mine was Elgin Baylor, btw.)

MarkOrlan
MarkOrlan

Giini, you're better than me. I removed my Livestrong bracelet after many years of wear and tear on my wrist.

 

Maybe Lance should just lay low for a year or two...take a long trip out of the country...maybe move to France or something (surely he can find a cave in the south of France to inhabit). The French always knew he was a cheater.  They might welcome him now that he's been exposed. Surely their sentiment towards him can't get any worse.  Who knows?  

 

If he comes out now with an admission of guilt and an apology, it's because he's been pressured, and the public knows it.  Not sure that it's going to be accepted by the masses as a sincere heartfelt apology.

 

People tend to have short memories.  If Lance pops back up in a year or so and comes out showing teary-eyed remorse, people may be more forgiving.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Tiger didn't need drugs to win, he was simply the best.

 

I used to see Pete Rose almost daily. He ate a restaurant next to my office and hung out at my gym. Every time I saw him I wanted to tell him he was one of my childhood heroes and that he should be in the Hall of Fame.

 

I also wanted to tell him to just apologize and that everyone would move on, but I never did. FWIW, Andy Petite apologized and got to go back to work as a major league pitcher.

 

The question to me isn't whether this is a witch hunt or not because we are long past that. I want to know what it is Armstrong wants to do now.

 

The races are over, he wasn't ever going back to the Tour. What does he want to do? I am just curious.

 

FWIW, after all I have read I think he did it. He comes off as being snarky and petulant. I guess that is what happens when public opinion shifts.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

One more thing: one of my great business heroes detested Richard Branson because he thought him reckless. By building his entire brand around the cult of his personality, my mentor thought that he carelessly risked everyone's employment at Virgin - what if something happened to him on one of his crazy trips? If he died, would the company die?  Perhaps any charity associated with a celebrity should take note of that and perhaps build a separate identity from the beginning to safeguard.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @saving4someday Oh don't get me wrong. I don't think he should apologize if he didn't dope. I want to believe he didn't. Really badly. But I also have read the witness testimonies and that's a lot of people saying differently. 

 

From a communications/brand perspective, he went completely silent when USADA released the witness testimonies. That's the worst possible time to go silent. Even if it's just a statement that reiterates all he's said all along, refocuses the conversation on cancer research, and gets the media to stop talking about it is enough.

700espn
700espn

@EricAgnew thanks for the tweet.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @djenningspr To me, the bracelet represents my passion in cycling and in cancer research...not in my belief (or not) of Lance. It's a Livestrong bracelet, not a Lance Armstrong bracelet. I spend a lot of time speaking and I know it's going to say a lot about me, now, when people see me wearing it. I'm OK with that because I still believe in the organization and I'm still a huge cyclist.

 

I'm not ready to say I think he's guilty. I still struggle with his not being indicted by a Grand Jury more than once, never having tested positive on a drug test, and charges being dropped when our courts of law couldn't mount evidence. Yes, I do agree the witness statements released last week are damning, but I'm not sure how I feel about all of that. Yet.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Laura Click

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@GNC_Dave Oh that's a good idea! I should do that, too

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Tinu John Millen wrote a really good blog post on this yesterday. He even went so far as to write the statement Lance should release...and I agree. 

 

Here it is:

 

“These recent events have great taken a toll on me and my family.  I take this very seriously and I’m going to take time to reflect deeply on what has happened and on the future.

“One thing I can tell you is that I remain committed as ever to my life’s purpose– the fight against cancer.  This fight is much larger than sports or personalities. We’ve raised nearly a half billion dollars in the fight against cancer and inspired millions of people to be strong in their personal battles. They inspire me every day.

“Sometimes less noticed is that by being very public we’ve also managed to raise awareness and remove a stigma that was associated with talking about cancer. Wherever my journey leads, I promise you I will continue this fight until my last breath.”

 

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Laura Click

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Anthony_Rodriguez My feeling on this is...just because everyone cheats doesn't mean it's OK. But I do agree you can't be a revisionist historian. As much as I cannot stand Alberto Contador, he got screwed. They found such a trace amount of hormones in his test that it could have easily been something in his food. But they banned him for a year. And when the Prime Minister came out and said it was BS, they banned him for a second year. It's too much power with an organization that shouldn't have that much power.

alainlemay69
alainlemay69

 @juliansummerhayes I'm surprised you would come to that conclusion. I'm no jurist but here are the facts as I understand them:

- The Justice Department dropped its case against him; insufficient evidence of doping.

- Most of the allegations fall outside of USADA's eight-year statute of limitations but the agency argues that Armstrong keeps expanding the time limit by continuing to deny drug use

- USADA also cites tests consistent with drug use. The validity and accuracy of those tests have been disputed but USADA says they only serve as corroborating evidence and aren't needed to make the case against Armstrong. The key term here is "consistent" which is legalese for "we want to make it look official but we can't prove it"

- The USADA is bragging about how they obtained their testimonies - basically they brought in federal agents who put guns on the table in front of them, threatened them with life-long bans from cycling and the prospect of dragging them in front of a grand jury, and them offered them a slap on the hand instead if they testified that he was using.

- The USADA then decided that the refusal to defend himself against the allegations was an admittance of guilt (basically, you are guilty unless you can prove you are not - in opposition to the normal judicial process)

Like I said, I'm no jurist but somehow I doubt this would fly in any court. So why is it accepted so readily here? (just asking)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Carmelo I don't think we have to cheat. If the playing field is level, we don't have to cheat to get ahead. Sure, some people won't have to work as hard as others do, but that's why natural talent and skill are rewarded. I won a full-ride, academic to college. They paid for everything, including my room and board. Heck, I didn't even have to pay for shampoo. And it used to get under my roommate's skin that I was required to keep a 3.8 GPA in order to keep my scholarship, but I never studied. Academia always came easy to me. I didn't cheat. I didn't have to.

 

So why do we have to cheat in sports to create this illusion that our bodies are better than the average person? I have no doubt Lance would have won the races, even without the doping...if no one else was doping. 

 

I guess we'll never know.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @AmyMccTobin But why is that different from any of the organizations we're building? I mean, I try really hard to make our brand about more than me, but I am very much present both on the Arment Dietrich side and Spin Sucks. Part of the reason we have the blog separate from the business is to build something that isn't reliant on my name. 

Sara F. Hawkins
Sara F. Hawkins

 @ginidietrich it would have been nice if Lance had released something saying that despite any allegations against me, Livestrong continues it's work to help cancer survivors and their families.

 

I'm not sure the media would stop talking about it. They haven't stopped talking about it all these years. It'd be a low murmur that each TdF would pick up - even when he wasn't riding any more. It's sensational, brings hits and viewers and traffic - all which equate to money. Why stop talking about the golden goose even after we've picked it clean?

djenningspr
djenningspr

 @ginidietrich  @djenningspr

 I hear you Gini.  For me, I'll always support Livestrong, but I know how much the bracelet has come to symbolize the fight against cancer versus Lance.  A good friend of mine left me the following comment on my Facebook post, and I'm sure he wouldn't mind my sharing here. I've posted below.  As my mom used to say, where there's wood there's fire, and as much as I really really want to believe he's innocent, and a part of me is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, I think it's time to move on, at least for me.

 

"To me, the bracelet wasnt, no isn't, about Lance, or the riding. It was, and is about the message. I put it on the day after I was diagnosed, and haven't taken it off since. Its been on every time I go and get the all-clear for the past 6 years. When after the last test, I accidentally cut it off with the hospital bracelet, I literally crumbled into my chair and cried in shock at what I had done. I then had to go to my car to see if just maybe I had an extra one there.. I didnt, and I almost drove home at that moment to get one. In my darkest days, I would finger that message and remind myself of better days ahead.  I think many of us felt  in our hearts he was doping like the rest of them and its a sad day that its come to this, but I long ago disconnected the man from the message.  I say wear your bracelet with pride. Don't wear it for Lance. Wear it for all of your other friends and family who fight the brave  fight. Wear it for those like me who won, and wear it for those we both know who lost."

Tunevk
Tunevk

 @alainlemay69  @juliansummerhayes So you want doping to continue in cycling? You accept the "well they didn't catch Lance, so let's all just keep cheating" argument? You prefer that bullies take over this sport and that no athletes can play fair and win?

 

And you think that George Hincapie, an extremely well-respected cyclist who just retired from the sport at 39 years old, had a gun held to his head to force him to talk about Lance Armstrong's doping? He didn't talk until he was ready to retire, but you think that he's lying? Really?

 

I'm sorry, but when you take off your rosy-Lance loving glasses and look at the facts, there is no reason to question the case. Question the financial outcome, question Lance's silence (which I agree with on a PR level 100% - the dude is not humble or caring or apologetic about anything he's ever done - he's NOT sorry, so don't put him out there to do more damage), but don't say that the USADA held guns to a bunch of cyclist's heads.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

 @alainlemay69  @juliansummerhayes I just "liked" your comments because I love being a contrarian. @alainlemay69 , your post reminds me not to make up my mind about anything until I've heard both sides of the argument. (It's really a good policy to keep from going insane during the political season!) 

Carmelo
Carmelo

 @ginidietrich Right, we don't have to. I played college basketball. I didn't cheat. My son played college basketball and became an all-american. He never cheated and most all his counterparts didn't cheat. That's the way I wish it were throughout all levels of sport. But it isn't.

 

The reality is that once someone does, the playing field gets artificially skewed. And there's the rub. Lance would have won without cheating if no one else was. This isn't an indictment of Lance but the whole culture of winning at all costs. Gini, you're so right about the fact everyone is different in their talents and even their tolerance to pain and their recovery times. But, that's not an artificial imbalance. That's life and we can learn so many lessons from that.

 

When there's billions of bucks and fame on the line, it has for whatever reason, caused the lesser athletes or those who take more time to recover between workouts, to find ways to cheat. and when they start beating those with more talent it just isn't fair. 

 

Would Vince (my son) have cheated if cheating had taken over his sport? I'd sure like to think not. We are not that kind of family/people. But here's the thing. I don't think Lance is that kind of person either. Did he get sucked in? Was he miffed at "lesser" athletes getting that unfair advantage? 

 

The evidence says he was ... it changed him. I'm just thankful Vince didn't play in that arena.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

 @ginidietrich  He would be allowed to ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes with my wife and me, if he doesn't mind dodging moose.  

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @ginidietrich That's my point... since we've watched so many celebrities fall and take their good causes down with them, why not think like you and have a toehold of an identity separate from the celebrity.

BillGiltner
BillGiltner

 @ginidietrich  @Tinu

 In lieu of a statement from Armstrong, can't Livestrong or any other Brand step up and make a statement along the lines that they respect the good intentions (and beneficial advocacy) of Armstrong over the years, have discussed the recent events with Armstrong, and have decided to discontinue any official relationship,

 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @BillGiltner  @Tinu But, Bill, from a brand and communications perspective, he HAS to do this. Otherwise the media continues to tell their own story. He has to get in front of it. Otherwise everyone else tells his story for him. Even if you don't agree with what he says, he's providing an answer and, while the media will report on it for a few days, they will no longer speculate because there is nothing more to say. Until then, the speculation continues and the crisis gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Laura Click

alainlemay69
alainlemay69

 @Tunevk  @juliansummerhayes I cannot condone the means, but I will gladly join you in hoping this is the shakeup the industry needed to clean up the sport, and in fact all sports, so we can go back to admiring those athletes who push themselves to excel without using the crutches of doping.

 

At the same time, I think we as fans have to take some responsibility for the present situation. We want records broken at every race. We want athletes to do the impossible. We created the climate in which dopers can flourish. Many of the cyclists who doped started off as staunch opponents to doping but soon realized that the field was stacked against them and the only way they could continue in the sport they had devoted their life to was to dope, the pressure became unbearable.

Tunevk
Tunevk

 @alainlemay69  @juliansummerhayes Sorry, the whole conversation does make me angry because I do love cycling and it is shameful what doping and the lies surrounding doping have done to the sport and it's athletes. I think that this scandal WILL end-up changing the game in a positive way, so I support the efforts that were made to expose it - even if it took the presence of federal agents to emphasize the serious nature of this case.

 

I also think that the bigger PR question lies with the cycling agencies and what they will do to step out of this scandal and move forward with a clean and honest sport. Livestrong will succeed, Lance will survive, and cycling will go on. 

alainlemay69
alainlemay69

 @Tunevk  @alainlemay69  @juliansummerhayes 

First off, your tone is very antagonistic and it really does not need to be.

2- I am not wearing "rosy-Lance loving glasses" as you stated, I am not even a Cycling fan. I am a fan of fairness and the general precepts of our legal system: innocent until proven guilty.

3- I am not a fan of individuals who seem to hold unchecked power and use it in their private vendettas. Texas district court judge Sam Sparks remarked "there are troubling aspects of this case, not least of which is USADA's apparent single-minded determination to force Armstrong to arbitrate the charges against him, in direct conflict with UCI's equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

4- It is not me saying this about the guns, it is McQuaid himself that bragged about it in several interviews. Just Google it.

“It wasn’t until the intervention of the federal agents in the United States, when they called these riders in and sat them down and put a gun and a badge on the table and they told them: ‘You’re facing a grand jury and you must tell the truth,’ that those riders broke down. And many of them did break down. Like criminals when they’re being questioned, they break down.”

5- and finally, while this singled minded obsession with Lance was consuming all of the resources of the USADA, you can bet that the dopers were developing better and better ways to trump the system. I cannot find a shred of evidence that would indicate that the doping problem has been dealt with and I have serious concerns that most of the races since Lance's retirement have been won by dopers. So what will happen to them?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 10-25 Spin Sucks: The Lance Armstrong PR Crisis [...]

  2. [...] week for this cyclist and fan of Lance Armstrong. When the USADA news broke last year, I wrote a blog post about what he needed to do to repair his reputation. His interview with Oprah followed that advice [...]

  3. [...] week for this cyclist and fan of Lance Armstrong. When the USADA news broke last year, I wrote a blog post about what he needed to do to repair his reputation. His interview with Oprah followed that advice [...]

  4. [...] week for this cyclist and fan of Lance Armstrong. When the USADA news broke last year, I wrote a blog post about what he needed to do to repair his reputation. His interview with Oprah followed that advice [...]

  5. [...] is no better person, perhaps, to prove our point on a very large scale than Lance Armstrong. Based on his recent interview with Oprah, we got so see just how far not coming clean after a huge [...]

  6. [...] So, how does an organization with such a recognizable brand and spokesperson recover from a crisis as, well, heartbreaking as Lance Armstrong’s duplicitousness? [...]