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This Day in Doping: Clemens case a clarion warning as Lance’s day of decision nears

Even before the federal investigation into Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping began, we were suggesting that it would be best for the sport and for himself if The King simply acknowledged that he used banned substances with the defense that it was a different era and everybody was doing it.

Case closed. Then we could all move on. (We only suggest this if Lance did in fact dope, of course.)

Now fate has intervened to smack Armstrong upside the head with the same argument.

Famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens has been indicted on six counts for lying about steroid use.

All the parallels are there. Famed Texas athlete. Seven-time winner of sport’s top honor (Cy Young, Tour de France). Incriminating statements from one-time close teammates (Andy Pettitte, Floyd Landis). Aggressive in denials to the point of belligerence.

Notably, Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the House committee investigating drug use in sports in 2008, said the Clemens indictment will “help end the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports.”

Cycling is a professional sport. The message could not be clearer to Armstrong.

Some day soon, Lance will have to make the call whether he comes clean or sticks with the “I never” line.

Once he makes the call, there will be no turning back. The Clemens case provides the clearest context possible, and most clarion call imaginable, for Lance to do the honest thing — whatever that is.

Other reading:

Pettitte’s testimony mattered — a lot.

Joe Papp: What it means for the sport of cycling.

Cyclists back claims Lance doped.

His usually voluble Twitter feed quiet on doping matters, Lance is focusing on the worthy work of his foundation.

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One response to “This Day in Doping: Clemens case a clarion warning as Lance’s day of decision nears”

  1. Gary

    Lance hasn’t “lied” about his use. He always says, “I’ve never TESTED POSITIVE for illegal drug use.” That’s the line drug users tell the cops & fans so that when the truth comes out, it’s still true.

    The only question I have is whether he got testicular cancer because of steroid use in the first place. It’s a known side effect but not the only way one can get it. And that’s more of a curiosity than need to know.

    Anyway if you haven’t seen it, there is a great documentary on drug use in sports called “Bigger Faster Stronger” Well worth your time. (netflix will rent it.)

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