In the wake of the report released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that implicated famed cyclist Lance Armstrong in a massive doping scheme for his team while competing in the Tour de France, the Tour director has stripped him of his seven titles. And removed him from the record books.
This news is not dissimilar to when Penn State was stripped of its titles from 1998 to 2011, following the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky–allegations that shook the college football giant to its roots.
The move by the NCAA had the same effect on the late Joe Paterno’s record as the UCI’s has on Armstrong–effectively leaving both of them without the hard-won wins and victories of veteran careers.
But as many cried foul in the wake of NCAA decision, just as many are wondering about this one: namely, is it fair?
After all, Armstrong has not pled guilty to doping or coercing fellow teammates to dope, which the report accuse him of. And isn’t everyone presumed innocent?
In a court of law, yes, we are all presumed innocent. But this isn’t a lawsuit. It’s the result of an investigation. And cycling’s governing body has accepted the USADA report and is taking action it believes appropriate.
But some say Armstrong is a scape goat; the Tour de France has been fraught with accusations and suspicions of doping for decades. Armstrong, it would appear, had just taken it to a new level.
One thing that has become abundantly clear, however you view these two events, sports at the collegial and professional levels need to be cleaned up. And if the only way to do it is by seizing upon those who break the 11th commandment, then so be it.
What’s the 11th commandment? Thou shalt not be found out.