Originally written March 2013.
As you all all aware, Lance Armstrong had his two part “I am sorry” session on Oprah this week. I watched along with the rest of the 3.2 million people. I not a “fan” of Lance or cycling in general. In all reality, anything that Lance had to say doesn’t affect my day to day life or world like other cycling fans. I wanted to hear what he had to say. What I am a fan of is reconciliation and forgiveness. I will say that I really don’t care if anyone who reads this is going to forgive Lance Armstrong for lying to the cycling community, his family, friends and or the world. What I am fascinated by is the level of forgiveness for certain individuals versus our own family and friends.
Lance clearly lied to everyone. Let’s see: doped for all 7 titles, cortisone in the 90’s, EPO, blood transfusions and GHB. If anyone saw what he did or knew he was doping, he would attack them and destroy them. It appears he owes apologies to Tyler Hamilton, Greg LeMond, Floyd Landis, Betsy Andreu, and pretty much anyone who came in contact with him. Clearly Lance is a control freak as he admitted. He wanted to control the end result. He didn’t feel it was wrong, bad and that he was cheating at the time. When asked what is the definition of a “cheater:” Lance said “gaining the advantage of a foe.” Wow. How can anyone forgive a man who even after being stripped of all seven titles, sit and tweet a picture of him lounging at his home in Texas on a couch with all seven Tour de France shirts framed on his wall? Defiance? Yes. Stupid? Absolutely! He wants to compete still. He has to look in the mirror everyday after lying to those who mean the most to him. His mother and his children. Will there be people who will forgive him? Probably. That’s fine, that’s their prerogative. I am not here to judge him. I don’t care either way.
When thinking about Lance Armstrong, there are many people who have been forgiven in the public media and have wound up shining on top. Here’s the short list:
Kobe Bryant: Accused of rape of a 19 year old girl in Colorado. Admitted to an encounter but she refused to testify in court. Later, a civil suit was filed and settled out of court. He publicly apologized to her later one. He’s still with the Lakers.
Tiger Woods: Publicly apologized to his wife Elin after cheating on her with several woman. Lost some sponsorship’s. Went to therapy. Rumored to have re-proposed to Elin again recently. He seems to be doing just fine in the golf tour.
Martha Stewart: Placed in jail for 4 months after ImClone insider trading debacle. Made a comeback after coming out of prison in 2005. She is now back with her empire as the Chairman of the Board in 2012.
Lindsay Lohan: What can I say about her? She’s always in the news. She is drama 24/7. Constant scuffles with the law. Her addictions rule her life. Every time she is in trouble, she doesn’t spend anytime long term time in jail at all unlike most Americans. Maybe jail rehab is what she truly needs. However, people still forgive her and she is always the life of the party in Hollywood. *Sad*
Michael Jackson: Molestation claims ruled his life in the 1990’s. I don’t know if any of the allegations was true or not. However, Michael did settle out of court to the tune of over $15 Million dollars. People still loved Michael and do to this day after his death.
When I heard that Lance Armstrong was going to do this interview with Oprah, I began to do research on Forgiveness. The word Forgiveness via Merriam-Webster dictionary is: to cease to feel resentment against an offender. Sounds about right. It’s about resentments that one feels towards another when a lie is told or when someone hurts our feelings. It’s about letting go how hurt you feel so that one can move on. Forgiveness is NOT condoning one’s individuals behavior nor is it not forgetting the said injury and/or denial that it never happened. Forgiveness does NOT mean that the pain is just going to magically vanish either. It is of my personal opinion that people seem to confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Reconciliation means to reestablish a relationship, settle and resolve and/or to bring oneself to ACCEPTANCE. That’s a whole different ballgame.
Our society has a very skewed sense of forgiveness. We can forgive the cyclist, media magnet, actress, golfer and/or any other public figure for their wrongdoings in society but we just can’t seem to forgive the person who doesn’t have a PR machine like most celebrity types? I am talking about people who may have made a wrong decision in their past and can’t seem to get a break. I have a close friend who unfortunately had a problem with alcohol. He had TWO driving under the influences. Now I am not advocating drinking and driving. It is a STUPID thing to do and people die daily from others making that decision. However, he did his time. He paid his fines. When he was trying to get back on his feet – no one and I mean NO ONE would hire him. He wasn’t a three strikes felon. Nor was he a child molester. Employers would look at him and say “oh you have a record.” Next! It took him at least two years to get back on his feet again and he worked HARD to get himself to that point. He now works out almost everyday, has THREE jobs to make ends meet because of his record. Doesn’t drink at all. I am super proud of him but why do we make someone with a criminal record who wants to do what’s RIGHT go through all of that? Where is our forgiveness for the “Average Joe?” Seems a bit unfair.
Same goes for family and friends in this writers opinion. We can sit there all we like and say “oh, we should just give Tiger a chance.” Yet, we can have the same humble approach for our own? My Father and I have had a long standing separation between us. Personally, I think it’s been too long. There are a lot of issues to this day that we can’t seem to rise above from. Maybe it’s my fault and some of it is his. My Father and I are the same person. Type A. Strong and driven. He taught me street smarts. Not to be a sucker. To be forthright and honest. Unfortunately, we can’t connect because we are stubborn. I know deep down in the depths of his consciousness he loves me, my sisters and his blood grandchildren but he can’t admit that because to him…that’s giving up for some reason. That’s his deal. Not mine. I forgive him for who he is and I am grateful for teaching me not to put up with anything. It’s due to my Dad that I am strong. I wish that I could say that to him. Maybe that’s my reconciliation …who knows.
In closing: Forgiveness and reconciliation is a delicate thing. I believe it’s up to the individual to discover what they will truly tolerate. Taking the high road in forgiveness is OK. It releases you from what hurts so you can move on. Ultimately the person you forgive has to deal with the consequences. If we can do that for celebrities…why can’t we do that for the rest of us? As long as you are free…that’s all that matters.