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, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Claire Celsi

    Yes, I agree that silence is not helping in this situation. But now, what is left? A career in tatters. Exposed lies. A glass house shattered. The only thing that made him so famous during his cancer journey was his cycling celebrity. Now that’s obviously a sham.
     
    He got rich off his endorsements. RICH. You didn’t mention the personal gains he acquired by illegal means. All the legit competitors who came in second.
     
    Tiger Woods, even though he is despicable, is still a legitimate golfing sensation. And he obviously does not dope on public adulation like Armstrong does. He does not pretend to be a hero. He is flawed, and he is private. Or at least tried to be.
     
    Lance Armstrong earned his place in the dustbin of history. Good riddance.

    • @Claire Celsi I don’t disagree, but from what I understand none of the “legit” competitors have been awarded first place for these races as a replacement because the majority tested positive too. Doping was rampant among a huge portion of these teams. Did everyone? No. Should he be instantly forgiven because it was so rampant? No. The point is that the issue has a lot of facets and a lot of grey area.
       
      Like @ginidietrich , I really wish he would say something, anything….

      • @katskrieger  I’m not a believer in the “everyone is doing it so it’s OK” mantra. If everyone cheated in school, does that make it OK? I remember when I first moved to Chicago and I had a trainer who talked about how all the middle school and high school kids were doing drugs in order to compete. And their parents were getting them for them. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess there will always be people gaming the system, no matter what it is. 
         
        With this, many people think he’s the scapegoat. I know I’m emotionally affected by it, which kind of bewilders me. Which is why I tried to put aside my emotions to make a recommendation to speak. Just do it.

    • @Claire Celsi The problem is there were any legit competitors that came in second. They all were doping. But I can’t talk about that. I can talk about the PR disaster he’s created. I don’t understand why, when I KNOW he’s surrounded by really smart communications pros, he’s staying silent. He’s not typically one to brush aside they’re counsel so it makes me wonder if there is something even bigger at play here.

      • ElissaFreeman

        @ginidietrich  @Claire Celsi You raise a good point here, Gini re the comms pros with whom he surrounded himself.  And this is where spin truly sucks…I would hate to think how much that comms team really new…and if they were part of the perpetuation of lies.

        • @ElissaFreeman  @Claire Celsi Having been in this situation before (not as big, but big from a legal perspective), I can venture to guess they only knew what the attorneys were telling them. So I don’t think they were helping to weave the path of lies. I think they were working with the information they had. There is no way an attorney would tell a comms pro anything that could legally hurt a client because we don’t have the same privilege and could be hauled into court.

  • I’ve been waiting for you to blog about this topic.  I know it’s close to your heart… like mine.  
     
    The whole PR situation reminds me a lot of Pete Rose.  He denied having bet on baseball for years, and has been denied his place in Baseball’s Hall of Fame because of it.  Finally, decades later he admitted it and now there’s a real chance he could someday get in.
     
    Honesty is almost always the right policy.
     
    –Tony Gnau

  • I’ve been waiting for you to blog about this topic.  I know it’s close to your heart… like mine.  
     
    The whole PR situation reminds me a lot of Pete Rose.  He denied having bet on baseball for years, and has been denied his place in Baseball’s Hall of Fame because of it.  Finally, decades later he admitted it and now there’s a real chance he could someday get in.
     
    Honesty is almost always the right policy.
     
    –Tony Gnau

    • @T60Productions Not almost always. It is always the right policy.

  • kymberlaine

    I take it personally too but in a different way. When he said, I’m not going to fight this any more, I became and even prouder fan because I believe too many people, that have also become brands, are expected to live every moment in the court of public opinion and I don’t believe that is a good thing. But, you’re right, he really is a brand, and he can’t move past it until he does close it.

    • @kymberlaine Like you, I was proud of him too. And I defended him by saying there are times you have to make hard decisions in order to focus on what’s best for you, your family, and/or your business. But now, from a PR perspective, it’s time to say something. Anything.

      • kymberlaine

        @ginidietrich I agree, but that doesn’t keep me from being sad about it

  • Nelson7qamya

    @StephanieDes http://t.co/hcWzsxb8

  • jasondyk

    I think NOW is the time for Lance to start engaging with folks as well! He has an amazing opportunity to rally his community and make it 10x stronger just by chatting with people, thanking them for their support and owning his part of all of this.  It’s amazing how forgiving people can be if you own your stuff

    • @jasondyk Isn’t it? It’s amazing how well “I’m sorry” works. That’s really all it takes. My sister-in-law snapped a photo of some Livestrong jerseys that were dropped to $10 from $119. I said, “BUY SOME!” I still support cycling. I still support Livestrong. I’ll still even support Lance if we hear from him.

  • BillGiltner

    For me, not a PR person, the idea that the prescribed plan is “I’m sorry’, is a soul-less and craven move.
     
    The social contract must have a true break-up option, and I think all of us, on a personal level, have experienced times when it should apply.
     
    PR shouldn’t have to be about lies as the stock in trade.

    • @BillGiltner It’s not about lies if you apologize. It’s about coming clean. It’s about saying you’re sorry and really meaning it. If he were a client and weren’t ready to say he was sorry and really mean it, I wouldn’t let him anywhere near a keyboard or a microphone. But America loves the second act story. If he can get past this, we’ll put him up on a pedestal again.

      • BillGiltner

        @ginidietrich I respect that you may be right.  I respect that your business can be about crisis management, and rejuvenation.  
         
        I not so critical of the “I’m sorry” for Armstrong approach as I am angry about the public falling for lies in so many areas of our lives,  I believe the truth needs to matter.  Some brands get it.  When Gilbert Gottfried veers into the distasteful tweets (http://www.businessinsider.com/gilbert-goffried-fired-afl-2011-3 ) on twitter, Aflac didn’t ask him to say I’m sorry.

        • @BillGiltner I agree. I don’t understand why so many public figures lie. I guess they think they’ll get away with it. But they never do.

        • BillGiltner

          @ginidietrich I used the words “social contract” above which I believed to refer to a general understanding / agreement of what is in bounds and what is out of bounds in society.  Upon further research, this meaning does not seem to be well established, and the words refer mainly to the relationship between the people and the government.  So, I misspoke.
           
          While on the subject of social contract, I also found this critique (which I find disturbing on many levels, and don’t agree with, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/19/1133735/-The-Social-Contract ) of Mitt Romney.

  • I’ve read some articles with interviews with some of the younger, current racers, who are rather angry and concerned that as a result of this, the sport will need to be rebuilt from the ground up, because of how widespread this reportedly is. I think that’s the other part of the story: how the cycling community and sanctioning body bounces back. Several corporations seem to have already pulled their sponsorship from teams. Obviously they can bounce back, but I think it will be harder than baseball coming back form the Bonds/McGwire mess, mostly because cycling isn’t as entrenched in our culture as baseball is. What do you think the cycling community should do in response?

    • @KenMueller Interesting point.  It does seem like each sport has its own social contract with its fan.  Football, which is teeming with those using PED’s and yet fans don’t seem to care.  Even when drug tests turn up positive, a player takes his few-game suspension and everyone moves on.  
       
      It seems that he more individual a sport is, the more we want to believe that a single human can actually be exceptional.  If I ever found out that Federer was doping, I would die a little inside.  
       
      To @ginidietrich ‘s  point of why he isn’t talking, I certainly hope that it’s more about his emotional state and not another scandal around the corner.  As for his sponsors wanting their money back, there seems as much proof that they covered up his actions as there is that he used.

      • @HeatherTweedy  @KenMueller And not only that, but they benefitted greatly from his wins. You can’t tell me the post office and the insurance company and the other sponsors didn’t make a lot of money off his back. Give me a break for wanting your money back.

    • @KenMueller If it’s as widespread as they say, they have to buckle down and get everyone off the drugs and away from the blood doping. Everyone. And everyone has to commit to doing it. I work with VisionQuest, a cycling coaching organization started by Robbie Ventura (who raced on the U.S. Postal team and coached Floyd Landis and now is a reporter during the Tour) and he personally sits down with every new client and explains how important clean cycling is and has you sign something saying you won’t cheat in any way. And then he has it notarized. This is happening at the local levels. Now it has to happen at the international level.

      • @ginidietrich That’s good. This has been big news around here since Floyd Landis is local, and there was a big article in the paper on Sunday about his role in all of this. And I think that’s what cycling needs to do, especially because it’s not a part of our culture the way baseball is. They have a much tougher row to hoe in cycling.

  • ginidietrich

    @HowellMarketing Thanks Amy! xoxo

  • ginidietrich

    @Subworx @jasondyk Thank you to both of you!

  • I think it’s obvious why he’s not talking.  It’s time for LIVESTRONG to stand separately from him (I blogged about this myself on Monday).  In a speech on Friday at a LIVESTRONG fundraiser he said as much. The cause has to survive the man.  And to do that, he needs to shut up and go away, as simple as that. I’m personally glad he’s not saying anything and letting the cause take the forefront and begin to stand on its own.

    • @geoffliving @ginidietrich I think he could still apologize separate from Livestrong, but I do agree Livestrong needs to stand on its own.

    • @geoffliving I agree with you on Livestrong and agreed with your blog post. But, from a PR perspective, this isn’t about Livestrong or about cycling. It’s about Lance Armstrong. He can’t quietly go away when former sponsors are suing him for their prize money back. When he’s being stripped of his medals. When his name is being erased from the record books. This is bigger than Livestrong.

      • @ginidietrich He’s already gone. You  and other bloggers may not like it, but he’s gone. He doesn’t have to be accountable to you or anyone else publicly, ESPECIALLY if people are suing him.  In fact, it would probably be a disaster for him to do so from a legal perspective.  I would think of Barry Bonds and how he got off the charges filed against him (sans perjury). I think the two cases are much more analagous than the Tiger Woods situation.

  • belllindsay

    Your DAD was in the Tour de France…??

    • @belllindsay No, no, no. He got into it as in watched it. He competes locally and always places in the top three for his age group. He’s SUPER strong.

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich BWAhahahahaha!! Come on – surely I’m not the *only* person who read that that way!!?? #facepalm

    • @belllindsay I thought the SAME THING when I read it!!!

      • belllindsay

        @AmyMccTobin @ginidietrich BOOM!! Right there!! I am NOT a loon! LOL

  • JLipschultz

    My response is simple: you’re right. Unfortunately L had chances to come clean earlier and avoid this worst case scenario. Ego got in the way.
    Glad you still wear the bracelet I gave you.

    • @JLipschultz I don’t want to be right in this case.

  • And if he is not guilty??

    • @Nic_Cartwright Either way, the silence is deafening. There needs to be some communication. I’d love it if he’s not, but based on all of the witnesses, I will someday admit I believe he is guilty.

    • Claire Celsi

      @Nic_Cartwright  That ship has sailed. It’s his word against dozens of others. According to others involved in the industry, he was relentless about squashing his opposition.

      • @Claire Celsi  @Nic_Cartwright for sure the current spin is that he is guilty….
        I am not a huge cycling sport fan (though I love to do it myself) – though I am a big sports fan…  I strongly believe that drugs have no place in sports (I even had to sack a player once for drug use) – but I have not read the evidence – and have no idea what the facts are – I do know however that there is a small chance that he might not be guilty after all as stranger things can happen in sports/politics.  Hence my question to Gini about “what if”….
         
        I am a big fan of the power of sports (and its heroes) to positively impact on culture and society – and it breaks my heart when sportsman abuse this power (Lance or otherwise)

  • ElissaFreeman

    Right now, Lance’s digital silence is deafening…and for someone who courted his fans via social media this is a big problem.  His apology has to be so carefully crafted as an avalanche of lawsuits likely await him for return of prize money, sponsorship money etc. Mitch Joel wrote a post on this yesterday.  However, beyond the apology (and I’m sure there will be one) will come the next investigation: use of Livestrong funds. We already know charitable donations were used in Armstrong’s case vs the sponsor who promised him millions when he won the 2004 Tour. 
     
    I agree with many of the posters that Livestrong needs to stand on its own…but without Armstrong…what exactly do they stand for?

    • @ElissaFreeman Supporting cancer?

      • ElissaFreeman

        They need to make their mission clear, especially now.  Having been in NFP for 18 years…I couldn’t tell you what they do beyond that they were the “charity that Lance Armstrong started.”

    • @ElissaFreeman I actually think Livestrong will be fine without him. They’ve been separating their brand from his for a long time. It was one of the strategies they employed as his cycling career was ending. So I don’t see that being a problem. But it does break my heart to see so many former sponsors wanting their money back and crucifying him. The fact of the matter is, he brought those organizations a TON of publicity that they gained tremendously from. What’s the point in trying to get back money that’s likely gone?

  • debdobson62

    Gini, you know what a huge fan I am of Lance and how much I love watching Tour de France and the other cycling events.  Heck, I even accidently colored my hair orange because I got distracted by Lance in the mountains (first time/last time doing my own hair…and a big presentation the next morning).  I too have defended him and am getting the “I told you so.”  I’m not sure if he is guilty or not.  I’ve read everything, and at this point agree.  He needs to say something.  He is pulling a Tiger Woods.  He does have some of the best PR in the world, and by staying silent, well, it won’t help anything get better.  An excellent post, and I know, I really do know how painful this was to write.

    • @debdobson62 It was really hard to take the emotion I’m feeling out so I could write this. I’ve been sitting on it for weeks. Heck, I’ve been sitting on it since the end of August. I really don’t want to believe he’s guilty.

  • ginidietrich

    @elissapr I heard you had a blog post on the topic, too.

    • elissapr

      @ginidietrich True. I had this one @thecanadacom http://t.co/xlgNSv9y; plus another waiting in the wings…

  • ladylaff

    I’m sorry Gini, that must have been hard.  Cycling is still a a wonderful sport and there are some amazing new role models like (my favourite) Bradley Wiggins.  Sometimes an institution needs a crisis in order to have a renaissance.  By the way, I think your advice was spot on.  I hope he takes it.

    • @ladylaff It was fun to watch Wiggins win the Tour and then race in the Olympics the very next week. THAT takes amazing stamina. I’d win the Tour and then want to sleep for three weeks, not ride in the Olympics.

  • Keena Lykins

    Interesting post, Gini, and like everyone else, I’ve been waiting for you to write it. If I were his PR counsel, I would tell him to say “sorry” or say nothing. If he’s guilty and not sorry, then he shouldn’t play sorry on TV. Silence is better than false contrition at this point.
     
    And as much as we want to know the truth (well, some do. I can’t say I’ve lost much sleep over this) silence may be the smartest thing he can do for himself and his family. Look at it this way, unless I’ve missed major news in the last few days, he still hasn’t tested positive for doping. Like Cory Giles (Salem Witch Trials) as long as he’s silent, the those charges remain unconfirmed. Sponsors may grumble about getting their money back, but that’s just noise. None of them will go to court to get it because they’ll  be the ones put on trial to show they are either complicit with the practice of doping or encourage it. How many other athletes have been asked to repay his/her sponsorship when they tested positive? If I were a lawyer, that would be a strategy I’d fully explore.
     
    So silence is a way to stay rich even if it leaves his personal legacy in tatters.

    • @Keena Lykins By no means do I think he needs to apologize if he’s not. But he does need to say something. Anything. He used Twitter to build a huge following of loyal runners and cyclists. And now he’s completely silent. It’s bad, bad, bad communications.

      • Keena Lykins

        @ginidietrich When did he go silent on social media? I read his August statement and got the feeling that that would be his last word on the matter regardless of what happens. Looking back on it, his emphasis on the use of “physical evidence” suggests he knew exactly what was coming. If he’s not posted much since then, he might not post again.
         
        And if he’s not going to respond to the most recent rulings, is there anything he can say that won’t be construed as avoiding the issue, etc.?

        • @Keena Lykins He went quiet a week ago. He was tweeting until October 17. I do think he should issue a statement, via a news conference, that either admits he doped (if he did and it won’t hurt him in future lawsuits, especially because he testified under oath that he did not) or he says something along the lines of, “This sucks. It’s happening. I’ve been advised not to say anything so you won’t hear from me for a while. I’m focused on my family and on cancer research right now.”

  • John_Trader1

    Clearly, this entire story is a subtle exposure of the massive doping problem that exists in professional cycling. Armstrong’s silence makes we wonder how he could have possibly leveraged this opportunity to save his reputation by admitting his mistakes and then championing a “no doping” campaign aimed at international youth who aspire to be in professional cycling. A “learn from my mistakes, don’t repeat them” tour. Could this have turned the public’s opinion around? Of course, there are those who would criticize him further for trying to profit off obvious cheating but what if he did it for free or donated speaking fees to additional educating about anti-doping causes.
     
    I’d seriously like to interview some kids who look up to him as a hero and get their opinions, at least those who understand the situation.

    • @John_Trader1 I absolutely think that would turn around public opinion and think you should call his office and tell him your idea!

      • John_Trader1

        @ginidietrich Here I thought it was a pipe dream to think of this. I am going to call his office and tell them that for a small fee, I will offer them the absolute best way to get him out of this conundrum 🙂 Or, they could just read your blog. They are, right?

  • First of all, we as a country are extremely forgiving of celebrities and the messes they get themselves into.  Come forward, state your side and within a few months it will be old news. I like Lance.. I support him and I won’t believe the stories until it comes out of the horse’s mouth. But IMHO there is a big difference between Lance and Tiger.. Tiger’s muck up destroyed his family.. he egotistically went thru life cheating on his wife thinking he was untouchable and that he wouldn’t get caught. Just like Lance, he lost his endorsements and his armor was tarnished. But he’s rising back to the “top” in the public’s eye just like every other adored athlete who’s fallen from grace does. If Lance WAS doping, in the end he’s really only hurting himself.

    • @KristenDaukas The difference, too, is Tiger was allowed to continue competing. That has been stripped from Lance (marathons, triathlons, Tour of California, and more) so he’ll never make his way back to the top. I’m not by any means a serious contender when I race, but if that were taken away from me, I would want to die.

      • @ginidietrich Maybe not in cycling but he’ll do okay, I think. He’ll always be a champion in my eyes who was brought down by inferior athletes and snarky reporters  who couldn’t beat him. Even if he was guilty, I wouldn’t look at him with the disgust that I look at Tiger Woods with. Tiger is a skank who should have never been allowed back. (was that an impassioned response???)

  • sierratierra

    We are a big cycling family. My husband used to compete and he and I went to the 2005 TdF. I used to run a Yahoo! Group called “Queens of the Feed Zone” to talk about women/families who support their male cyclists. Back then, we asked each other, “How will we tell our children about Tyler Hamilton?” Because he had considerably less clout than Armstrong, the PR crisis remained with Hamilton for the most part. With Lance, the PR crisis spreads to competitive cycling as a whole. It’s not just about HIS bike anymore.

    • @sierratierra Funny! I just made myself some lunch from my Feed Zone cookbook! So how will you address this with kids and teenagers?

      • sierratierra

        @ginidietrich All my ideas sound incredibly hokey — but most revolve around that you’ll never get busted for anything if you keep it clean. (So keep it clean and hold on to all the reasons that you love the bike/competition in the first place.) No matter how we frame it, it’s going to be a tough conversation.

        • @sierratierra It’s just in how we should live our lives, isn’t it? Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Live by the Golden Rule. I guess it’s not that easy.

  • rdopping

    I have no love for the way society crucifies people before the truth comes ou. Regardless Lance will never be the same and Livestrong, through association, is tarnished. It’s sad because it’s not a shoe or a watch. Too bad. I hope he comes clean.

    • @rdopping I really defended him – hard – before the testimony came out. And I had to live through a lot of “I told you so,” which was really painful. I’m with you – let people have their day in court before we crucify them.

  • Just a few thoughts…1) What kind of an edge does doping give an athlete? Do dopers always win? There’s something to be said for 7 years of being first with an aging body and does that mean he took more drugs to compensate, yet there has never been solid proof that he has? I’m so confused.
     
    2) In this situation, “saying sorry” isn’t going to get him beyond this debacle (like Tiger). He has to enroll in blah blah, devote time to community service, show he indeed has a tail and that’s how the PR has to happen. His personal brand? Ginormous; it’ll take the mountains he’s climbed on wheels one foot at a time.

    • @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Doping won’t always make the difference. It won’t turn an average person into an elite athlete, but it does provide an edge and there is a legitimate question about whether it creates an uneven playing field.
       
      That is sort of contingent upon how many people are doing it.

  • Tunevk

    15 professional cyclists – Lance’s former teammates – would not admit to doping just to take Lance down. It DID happen and part of the reason he’s silent is because fans are used to turning a blind eye to his bad behavior. The cycling industry wants this behavior to stop, and you should to. Livestrong will be fine, so why care about what a cheater says? Sorry, but it makes me angry when celebrities get away with murder, and then people still follow him!?! Anyway, the promotions worked so no sponsorship money should be asked back, but cycling fans still have a Tour to cheer for, and there are still avenues for supporting cancer research, so let’s concentrate on those positives instead. Right?

  • Tunevk

    15 professional cyclists – Lance’s former teammates – would not admit to doping just to take Lance down. It DID happen and part of the reason he’s silent is because fans are used to turning a blind eye to his bad behavior. The cycling industry wants this behavior to stop, and you should to. Livestrong will be fine, so why care about what a cheater says? Sorry, but it makes me angry when celebrities get away with murder, and then people still follow him!?! Anyway, the promotions worked so no sponsorship money should be asked back, but cycling fans still have a Tour to cheer for, and there are still avenues for supporting cancer research, so let’s concentrate on those positives instead.

    • @Tunevk I don’t disagree with you one bit. But, from a PR perspective (this is a PR and marketing blog, after all), he needs to break his silence. If he’s not sorry, that’s fine. Don’t be sorry. But say SOMETHING.

      • Tunevk

        @ginidietrich I just disagree. Saying that he’s not sorry, saying that he is sorry – either option makes him look weak and tainted. I think a guy like Lance Armstrong, a professional cyclist, should lay low. In the long run, people will still remember him for cycling, not for how he handled this situation.
         
        Unfortunately, someone will probably convince him to do an interview that let’s his ego talk and disregards what the sport of cycling really is and should be – sheer strength and determination, without cheating.

        • @Tunevk From a brand/PR perspective, though, it’s the worse thing you can do. You have to speak…even if it’s just a statement that says, “This is what’s going on. I’ve been advised to lay low.” But to just drop off the face of the earth is what creates the media circus and keeps people talking and speculating. You have to get in front of these things. Always.

        • Tunevk

          @ginidietrich He’s been dealing with this for years and he has spoken about the issue many, many, many, many times. Recently, even. I just don’t agree that he would be saving anything or benefitting himself by speaking today. It would change nothing.
           
          it sounds to me that you are concerned about short term PR, but I’m thinking about his long-term brand. Speaking today may calm the frantic PR folks, but reserving statement for the right moment (after the legal and gossip fallout simmers) would guarantee his ability to be heard, and to make a statement that actually means something – not only to his fans, but to the cycling community that he has scarred and to the others who never worshipped him.
           
          Stepping out of the spotlight for a week is not the worst thing he can do.

        • @Tunevk Not at all. I’m concerned about the long-term brand. This is what we do every, single day. It’s not about calming frantic PR people. It’s about not giving the media anything else to talk about. When you don’t make a statement, the media write stories and report on speculation. When you do, even if it’s just “I’m laying low,” they have nothing to report on and they move on to the next thing. Until he makes a statement, they will continue reporting and affecting the court of public opinion. It’s what they do. And it’s the job of a communications professional to make sure they have no fodder to do so.

        • Tunevk

          @ginidietrich i just firmly believe that this story is too big to be squashed so easily as you describe, with a “I’m laying low” statement. The media is going to report on him, positively and negatively, regardless of what he does or says for the next 12 months. That’s what happened to Tiger, and I think that this story is even juicier (pardon the pun).
           
          And again, he has made many statements on this topic and even recently, fully explained his position on the case. He’ll resurface soon enough, and no one will remember that he didn’t tweet for a week.

  • And this too, shall pass. I agree that not making any type of statement, – especially when basically the whole world has made up their minds that he is guilty – is not helping his image. I was also in the not guilty camp, but a litany of others have swayed me over that line. I was truly impressed by Christian Vande Velde’s statement when he admitted and honestly apologized for doping.  christianvdv.com/blog/christian-vande-velde-statement/ Apologize if you did wrong, and get on with your life.

    • @KarenARocks It’s the only way to get past it. Otherwise this is going to hang over his head even after he dies.

  • ErinMFeldman

    @John_Trader1 Thanks, John (JT?)! 🙂

  • Side note:  Want to put money down that Sheryl Crow left him when she found out he had been lying about doping?

    • @geoffliving I thought he left her?

      • @AmyMccTobin  @geoffliving Yeah – I thought he left her. In fact, I was at an event right after that happened, where she spoke, and she was pretty broken up about it. The rumor was he left her while she was undergoing chemo, which made some people call him scum of the earth.

        • @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin Well, that kind of sucks.  While I was willing to compartmentalize doping a systematic issue, this combination of skeeviness kind of makes me really not like Lance.

  • alainlemay69

    OK, let’s admit it, it is likely that he used. As did 90% of top cyclists. But I disagree with the witch hunt he has been the victim of by the USADA. Picking one person and making him the scapegoat for all the problems in professional sports. It seems we learn nothing from history. When Ben Johnson tested positive, he was demonized in the media and the medal awarded to his rival, Carl Lewis. It later came out that Lewis had tested positive three times before the 1988 Olympics. Yet no one went after him with a hatchet and he still holds most of his titles.
    And what of the present cycling champions? Are we supposed to believe they are all clean? Based on what? Drug tests? The same tests Armstrong is accused of trumping some 500 times?

    • @alainlemay69 I don’t know…I’m with you. It does feel like a witch hunt – like he is being made an example of for everyone else. I ride my bike every day. I am, by no means, the strongest rider around. I do know how hard it is to get on your bike day after day and climb mountains when your legs simply won’t move. But I also don’t think we need to cheat for faster recovery or what have you. Part of the reason the Tour is such an amazing race is it’s 21 days of pure riding. If your body can do that without drugs or recycling your blood, you’re a freaking machine. I know I couldn’t do it. I’d be crying by day six.

  • I feel for you Gini – it sucks to see that our heroes have flaws… especially major one.  I know he did wrong, but I just can’t hate him for it because he’s done SO MUCH GOOD.  And I always come back to this question: if we all know that 90% of cyclists dope, much like we know a good percentage of NFL players use steroids, why are Football players allowed to get a pass?  Why are cyclists (and baseball players) held to a different standard.
     
    He needs to admit it, but I bet you any money that his attorneys won’t let him because it gives his past sponsors more legal ammo.

    • @AmyMccTobin He has done a ton of good. And I keep thinking about the fact that he never tested positive for doping. But now it sounds like he was just a master at avoiding the testing at the right times. It really makes me sad.

  • 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.

    • @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.

      • @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.

  • 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.

    • @Josh/ http://joshuawilner.com/ He can’t do any kind of racing, including triathlons and marathons. I’m not even close to the competitor he is, but if racing were pulled out from under me, I’d go into a deep depression.

      • @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.

  • I’d like to see the focus shift to how he beat cancer because that is worth talking about.

  • 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.

    • @MarkOrlan By no means do I think the apology should be contrived. He only should do it if he truly is sorry. But he does need to publicly address this. Going quiet is only making things worse.

  • 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.)

    • @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 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.

  • 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.

    • @magriebler It’s not just heroes in sports. This is what we do as human beings – we build people up so we can tear them down and rebuild them. Being successful comes with big, big sacrifices.

  • 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.

    • @juliansummerhayes So if you were counseling him on the legal side and I were counseling him on the communications side, do you agree with my recommendation? From experience, I know there are some things he can’t say, but don’t you think life will be easier if he just comes clean?

    • 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)

      • @alainlemay69  I wish I could love this comment.

      • @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!)

      • 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.

        • 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?

        • 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

          @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.

  • 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.

    • @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.

  • Yarnelljqabs0n

    @janesmallfield http://t.co/rrT7aGeR

  • ginidietrich

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

  • 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.)

  • 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.

    • @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.”

      • BillGiltner

        @ginidietrich  @Tinu
         I can’t begin to express how much I prefer silence over this load of horsesh*t.

        • @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.

        • 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,

  • 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.

    • ginidietrich

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

  • 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.

    • @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.

      • @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.”

  • JeffreyWShapiro

    Professional Development, How to Do It & Why http://t.co/dLGGfnnx @gnayyar @mhimss @att @thesleepdoctor @tedcoine @ginidietrich

  • ginidietrich

    @JudySchaumburg Thanks Judy!

  • ginidietrich

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

  • EricAgnew

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

    • 700espn

      @EricAgnew thanks for the tweet.

  • cloudspark

    @ShellyKramer i’d been waiting for cycling enthusiast and pr maven @ginidietrich to write that post. http://t.co/b4rDjgmc

  • saving4someday

    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 they gave 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 are 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. 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.A 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. Murders 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 prosecutor. While Lance isn’t sitting in a prison cell, he’s certainly paying the price for being unable to prove the unprovable.

  • saving4someday

    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.

  • saving4someday

    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.

    • @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.

      • saving4someday

        @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?

  • BillGiltner

    Found an article from somebody who lays it out:  http://chicagomaroon.com/2012/10/26/forget-about-the-bike-its-time-to-give-up-on-lance-armstrong/

  • Its a nice informative post and its great resource for lots of peoples, so to promote your business by using some internet marketing strategy and it can easily to reach the correct market place.

  • ginidietrich

    @nduley I think all us cyclists are!

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