I am a big fan of the truth. But in the case of Lance Armstrong, does it even matter anymore? Does anyone care anymore? Did they ever?
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) cares.
Whether motivated by the truth or spite (as Armstrong claims), the USADA has filed formal charges against the seven-time Tour de France champion, accusing Armstrong of using a blood booster (EPO), blood transfusions, testosterone, human growth hormone and anti-inflammatory steroids to compete over nearly 15 years.
Armstrong calls the charges "a vendetta" and said in a statement, "I have never doped and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. ... Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me."
Which I sure hope is the truth, because it sure isn't logical.
Logic tells you it makes no sense for a man to dominate a dirty sport from top to bottom while being apparently the only clean cyclist in it. Logic would tell you that he was dirty but he was better at hiding it than all the rest.
But logic also says that if he was dirty like all the rest, he was still the best in his sport on an even playing field. Did things no one else has ever done. Did it after nearly dying from cancer.
He showed us there is life after cancer. He showed us there is greatness after cancer. He became an inspiration to millions with cancer.
Does any of that change if he was dirty?
The feds decide to prosecute Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but decline to do so with Armstrong. Does that prove his innocence? Or is it because of the feds' missteps with Bonds and Clemens that they thought better of going after Armstrong (no matter that two former teammates were willing to testify against him)?
So now here comes the USADA. They are going to get to the truth once and for all about Armstrong. Or so they claim.
At this point, does anybody believe this is the truth?
At this point, if they prove what they claim and strip him of all his achievements, what will it change?
Only the record books. The USADA can strip him of his titles but cannot send him to jail.
And, to those who were inspired by Armstrong, he will always be a champion because he beat cancer, and because he helped others do the same, with inspiration, and by raising millions.
Even if logic dictates that the USADA's side of the story has got to be closer to the truth than Armstrong's, what is gained at this late date by finding out the truth?
Many won't believe it, and many others don't want to hear it. For years I believed that if Armstrong was tested hundreds of times and passed them all, then he must be clean. I don't believe that anymore.
But I don't want to hear USADA's side of the story, either. Heroes are not perfect -- many times far from it.
But we still need them. Sometimes more than the truth.