Monday, November 12, 2012

Lance Armstrong – time to take out the trash

Lance Armstrong just doesn’t get it. Lance Armstrong continues to remain defiant, seemingly oblivious to how the world feels about his actions, since his complete fall from grave began on August 24.

Monday, Livestrong the charitable foundation Armstrong created in 1997 soon after doctors discovered Armstrong had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, announced the now disgraced retired cyclist had resigned from Livestrong’s Board of Directors, cutting all ties with the organization on November 4. Sunday Armstrong posted a picture to Mobli, the photo-based social network, which then appeared on Twitter. If a picture speaks a thousand words, Armstrong continues to show no remorse.

The picture captures Armstrong the trophy room of his home in Austin, Texas lying on a coach with his seven framed Tour de France Jerseys eliminated on the walls around him. Lance posted the picture on Twitter using the following caption: “Back in Austin and just layin’ around…” Austin was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles on October 17, losing all of his corporate partners the same day.

The picture sends a clear message to anyone who might be interested – “I am Lance Armstrong and I will do whatever I want to do.” According to a Forbes report: Two days after Lance posted the picture, the photo has already racked up more than 320,000 views and 438 comments.

Amaury Sport Organization organizers of the Tour de France are demanding Armstrong return the $3.6 million he was awarded for winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. Dallas based SCA Promotions are ready to sue Armstrong after paying the now disgraced cyclist $12.5 million for winning the 2004 and 2005 Tours.

Monday Livestrong Lance Armstrong’s charitable foundation announced that Armstrong had resigned from the board of directors for Livestrong on Nov. 4. He had previously resigned as chairman from the charity he founded Oct. 17 but had kept a seat on the board.

In a statement, new board chairman Jeff Garvey announced Armstrong resigned from the board to spare the organization any negative effects resulting from the controversy surrounding his cycling career. The organization chose to wait eight days before making the announcement Lance Armstrong was no longer a part of Livestrong.

“Lance Armstrong has chosen to voluntarily resign from the Board of Directors of the LIVESTRONG Foundation to spare the organization any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career. We are deeply grateful to Lance for creating a cause that has served millions of cancer survivors and their families. We are beholden to the Armstrong family for the nearly $7 million in contributions throughout the Foundation’s history.

“Lance Armstrong was instrumental in changing the way the world views people affected by cancer. His devotion to serving survivors is unparalleled and for 15 years, he committed himself to that cause with all his heart on behalf of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Under Lance’s leadership, the Foundation raised close to $500 million to serve survivors.

“Because of Lance, there is today more focus on the individuals whom this disease strikes, and on healing the person, not just killing the disease. We are proud of Lance’s indelible contributions to the global effort to eradicate cancer and his on-going personal commitment to improving the lives of its survivors. The Foundation will continue to grow its free services for cancer survivors, advocate on their behalf and fulfill the mission Lance created 15 years ago.”

Livestrong has raised close to $500 million since 2004. Most of the money came from the sale of yellow silicone gel bracelet developed by Nike and their advertisement agency Wieden+Kennedy. Yellow was chosen for its importance in professional cycling, as it is the color of the yellow jersey worn awarded to the winner of the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong made the right decision in deciding to cut his ties with Livestrong, but the wrong choice in posting the picture he did in Twitter.

Imagine if you are working on behalf Livestrong calling on companies soliciting support for the charity. The first question you are likely to be asked “What if any association does Lance Armstrong have with Livestrong?” A few months ago Livestrong’s direct link to Lance Armstrong opened the doors of corporate America. Today any association with Lance Armstrong will result in “not interested in anyone and any group linked to Lance Armstrong.:

Lance did what was right for Livestrong but the picture he posted suggests Lance Armstrong “just doesn’t get it.” Lance Armstrong never won those seven Tour de France’s after 11 of his former teammates and 15 members of support team swore under oath that Lance Armstrong had cheated. Those seven yellow jerseys no longer belong to Lance Armstrong – he never earned them. Lance Armstrong is being forced to return $15.8 million in prize money he never earned for those seven Tour de France events.

The picture of Lance Armstrong lying on his couch in his trophy room is Lance Armstrong waving his middle finger at the world. The picture Lance Armstrong posted demonstrates remarkable arrogance – Lance Armstrong not only has no regrets for what he has done, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his indefensible actions.

Lance Armstrong must believe he is better than most people. He has been portrayed as a bully, a cheater, as a liar – he just doesn’t care. He must also be one of the coldest people in the world today.
Lance Armstrong once symbolized hope to hundreds of millions of people, a person everyone wanted to meet once in their lifetime. Lance Armstrong was never that person. The real Lance Armstrong walks away from the foundation he created and posts a pictures that serves to insult the intelligence of the millions who once believed in him. Lance Armstrong is the ugly American.
For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom

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