Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The USADA process and Lance Armstrong

I have written a couple of posts recently about my views on the recent doping charges brought against Lance Armstrong and in my last post on this I broached the bug bear I have with the way us so called “Lance fans” are derided for seemingly appearing to possess no critical faculties in our desire to keep Lance on some sort of pedestal.

Well I have answered that one and now I feel compelled to move past addressing what has been up until now seen as the Lance supporter camp versus those who argue that we must know, it is important to know everything about this era of cycling so the sport can finally move on and as one journalist argued that it would finally help to heal the sport. Okay well now we are in very different territory with this latest round of doping allegations against Lance. As Outside magazine themselves, and I might add coming from this particular publication considering their historical negative Lance stance, and therefore I truly  appreciate their opinion and feel  it has a lot of weight, well I feel that for me their journalists argument encapsulates in a nut shell what many of us deeply feel, we have now entered a period where it is not so much the argument anymore of whether we need to know or not, but the “how “of the way USADA are pursuing this case, that now must be addressed.

I have not been able to pinpoint exactly why I have felt so un well  each time I have seen the events in this particular case that have unfolded since mid-June gather pace like a freight train . The speed and momentum of this case against Lance has been quite astonishing. I think Outside magazine has finally put the finger on it for me. It doesn’t sit right because the way the end result that is desired by USADA is being pursued , is  beginning to feel as if it is riding rough shod all over a person’s right to reply in a timely manner.

I must interject now with something personal that has just happened to me and it has happened at a moment in all of this that has starkly brought in to relief just what it must feel like right now for Lance, that sensation of being backed in to a corner with a deluge coming at you of accusations and not feeling as if you have the space or room to reply in a manner that feels in any way fair. I had a difference of opinion with someone a day or so ago that really escalated, it escalated to a shocking degree resulting in me receiving an email of the likes I have never had the misfortune of opening in my entire life. I am absolutely not going to go in to this here and I am also not going to imply either that the content of my email equates in any way to what Lance has to deal with right now. It is just that feeling, the feeling of being cornered to an extent where you cannot breathe. I would not wish it on anyone and I think if we are all honest as humans with feelings and hence empathy, because we all do possess the same spectrum of human emotions, that is what is going on now for a lot of people, even those not in the Lance camp so to speak, because of that empathy we all possess because we know what it feels like to well be human so to speak, we are all coming to this, that this process, it all doesn’t sit well with us.

If you think about it that is what has enabled our society to evolve in the way it has through the ages, that ability to empathise. It has meant that quite often we have been able to pull back and weigh up situations, that however much maybe in some ways it can be argued that a pursuit of justice is being undertaken, that if the “how” is becoming misguided in certain ways, empathy will prevail and so as the Outside magazine itself argues, sometimes we must drop things. Simple as, because it is just not possible to pursue a matter and keep it within the bounds of what you can expect another person to be able to cope with. None of us really want to wish an unbearable weight of emotional pain upon another human being. That is what I think makes us truly special as a society, this evolution of respect of a person’s well being over all else.

Can many of us actually maintain at this stage that the way this is being pursued against Lance is going to result in a situation whereby more good than harm is going to come of the eventual resolution USADA are gunning for at the rapid pace they are pushing it forward? For many of my fellow LIVESTRONG Leaders it has gotten to the point where I have seen comments tonight not of as some of you might be levelling at us of our constant discussion of lance’s innocence, no there is barely a mention of this debate, many comments are really about the USADA process and as one of us pointed out, many people long ago made up their minds about this debate and now with the way this is being pursued it will cause more hurt than good.

What bothers me the most about all this, is when I peruse some of the more vitriolic twitter conversations of those who very much are at the opposite end of my camp in all this, when I manage to clear away the truly unpalatable stuff and look closely at their arguments and debates and in some cases some really very well written blog posts, well in all of it I say to myself these people truly have nothing to gain from any of this as they know what they know and are long decided, it provides for them merely hours of interesting debate nothing more. Yet there are so many and yes I do speak now of those who rely so very much on the care and services and crucially hope they receive from LIVESTRONG, in some cases very innocent people in terms of their knowledge of this whole cycling saga, they truly have a lot to lose in all of this. Then of course there is Lance, his family and friends. I shudder to think what it is like for them at the moment. 

I have sifted through all the debates over the last few days, that is how I am I like to read and understand as much as I can even the most extreme diametrically opposed views to my own, then all the more generalised less emotional stuff in the middle, and then yes of course the opinions of those in my camp who truly love LIVESTRONG and their mission. I must conclude that the way this is shaping up, the course and speed and process of this pursuit, I see more damage than good coming from this.  I do not trust speed in any process, you only have to look at the so called “locomotives of history” that have resulted in revolution, and we know how all those processes have ended up. However “right “people, organisations, governments etc. might be there are usually processes attached to things that plod along fairly slowly in the way they come to a resolution. 

Whatever the outcome of all of this for Lance, and yes it goes without saying I fall into the camp of many who will be behind him regardless of the outcome of these proceedings, I feel many of us will be left with feeling that the “how” of this process left a lot to be desired and I think once this becomes the historical footnote that everything ends up being eventually, it will not be viewed as a favourable one.
I hope there are more and more of us out there who put empathy first in our consideration of all this and I will leave this tonight with this question. How far can you push a man, a human being?

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