Thursday, January 17, 2013

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Headline: Lance Armstrong admits to Cheating

But it's not only that Lance used PED's, it's the extent he went to cover it up. The US Anti-Drug Agency made this statement in October 2012 accompanying 1,000 pages of evidence against Lance Armstrong.
In a statement, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said, "The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."  (Here's the link to the formal 200 page charge given to the UCI... if you care.)
It's not like Lance just denied his drug use once or twice. This article gives a short list of Armstrong's denials over a 10 year period. Look at this quote from June 2012 where he throws all his teammates and associates under the bus while claiming his innocence!
“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,” Armstrong said in a statement released by his publicist. “That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.” Washington Post
Not only did he make denials of PED use in interviews, he sued those who accused him of doping. In 2006 he settled with the British newspaper, the Sunday Times. The paper is now suing him for $1.5 million. That should be interesting. Earlier a book published in 2004 (L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong) received the same treatment. Armstrong sued everyone associated with it, including media outlets that published excerpts.

Other interviews I've heard on the radio describe Armstrong as a bully, who would run other riders out of the sport if they said anything about his doping.

Lies, on lies, on deceit, on bullying, on lies, on conspiracy, on scheming, on lies, on protestations of innocence, on lies, and maybe on bribes. AND NOW HE ADMITS HIS GUILT!

Armstrong has now lost his sponsors, his role at his own charity Livestrong, and his 7 Tour de France titles.

Complicating the whole issue is the good work that his Livestrong organization has accomplished in the field of cancer research. One report I read said that it has raised over $500 million since it was founded about 15 years ago. That's a lot of helping. While no one wants to see that research suffer, we can only blame Lance Armstrong for the foundations tarnished image, just as we must recognise that the $500 million would never have been raised without him.

When we survey the mess Armstrong's lies and cheating have caused I'm reminded of why God so often condemns lying. It's such a fundamental sin that it makes the famed 10 Commandments. "Thou shalt not bear a false witness." Later, it's included in a list of what are generally considered more serious sins as examples of who will not make it into heaven. (Revelation 21:8)

Lying  often seems like a minor moral flaw, but it is fundamentally opposed to God's nature. In John's gospel, Jesus describes himself as the Truth. While in John 8 he describes the devil as "the father of lies". Armstrong's world may come crumbling down, but that's not surprising when his lifestyle has been built upon a lie.

Strangely, in the same week a bizarre story has made headlines about Notre Dame's star player and Heisman trophy finalist, Manti Te'o. During the season his personal background story made headlines. Not only did his grandmother die mid-season, but his girlfriend who'd survived a car accident only to be diagnosed with leukemia, died a few days later.

Now it turns out that the girlfriend was never anything more than a figment of the internet's imagination. Whether Te'o was the victim of a cruel hoax, or part of an attempt to gain publicity to support his Heisman run, his life has been turned upside down when the deceit has been exposed. Apparently this fiction came to light in mid-December which raises the question of whether it affected his preparation for the national title game where he played poorly.

You can read all the details here. It's crazy. You wouldn't find it at all believable if it was a fiction story... but it's apparently true!

Te'o issued a statement Wednesday afternoon:
 "This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.
"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.
"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. "I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.
"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."
 Time will tell how truthful Manti Te'o has been. As confusing as this story is, Scripture reminds us that nothing is hidden from God. Here are some verses that Manti and Lance would do well to meditate on:

For God will bring every deed into judgment,    including every hidden thing,  whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:!4

He reveals deep and hidden things;    he knows what lies in darkness,    and light dwells with him. Daniel 2:22

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. 1 Corinthians 4:4-5

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

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