If you didn’t know it, I was once a big-time fan of Lance Armstrong. A few years ago, you may just remember that there was this doping scandal that he was involved in – and his ultimate admission of doping after all those years of defiant denials had let me down (See my Open Letter to Lance Armstrong).
It really did make me question (and still does today) if there are any “clean” professional bike riders out there. Lance certainly seems to indicate that there aren’t too many. “Everyone was doing it,” was a theme that came out in his admission. True or not, Lance is now paying the ultimate price for his actions.
I truly think that his consistently long defiant denials are the real reason he was penalized as harshly as he was. The other racers caught doping were given a slap on the wrist and kept from racing for a year or so. If my memory serves me right, Alberto Contador was caught doping two or three years ago – and – I recently read that he is one of the main contenders for cycling events this year….
But – this post is not to determine whether or not the punishment to Armstrong was fair. It is what it is, and he did what he did. He thumbed his nose at the establishment for so long, and he’s paying for it now.
Let’s take a look at the real reason for my post – and – how Tom Brady just might be similar in “Deflategate!”
For those who may not be familiar with the term, Deflategate refers to a scandal in the National Football League whereby many of the regulation game balls of Tom Brady’s team, the New England Patriots, were found to have been deflated below standards. This was found out AFTER the playoff game that allowed the Patriots to go to (and ultimately win) this year’s Super Bowl.
During the whole week before the Super Bowl, the media hounded Tom and the rest of the Patriots about how those balls were deflated that much. And – over the course of the week – the stories seemed to change a little bit. Denials were definitely made (though they may not have been as defiant as Armstrong’s).
By the end of the week, it sounded like an “internal investigation” was initiated by the coach of the team. Now, that’s just silly. I think some of the sound bites from later interviews would be that the truth would eventually be found out – and the NFL would deal with it then.
Of course, this wouldn’t happen before the Super Bowl….
Was this done because the NFL and the Patriots thought the media frenzy would die down and people would forget? That’s very possible – the media is quick to hype up something only to be forgotten the next week (Anyone remember the panic of Ebola in the USA a few weeks back? Anyone hear much about it now? Anyone?).
I’ll be curious to watch to see if anything at all does come to light in the future.
The New England Patriots had been caught a few years back cheating by obtaining the playbooks of their competitors. Somehow, the coach and quarterback of that scandal are both still in the NFL (and, surprisingly, both just won the Super Bowl this year).
Now I don’t pretend to know what really happened (if anything at all) with the footballs – nor do I know if it would really affect the outcome of a game. I don’t even know if it would give the Patriots an advantage over a competitor.
I do know that cheating is cheating. Lance Armstrong cheated by doping, and he’s been made the villain and the example (even after he finally admitted it) – but I still consider him a great cyclist.
I also consider Tom Brady a great quarterback/football player; however, if Deflategate is real – and he had any role in changing the air pressure of those footballs – and it did give the Patriots an advantage – I see no reason why he should be treated differently – especially if he actually admits any role in it.
Should all of his Super Bowl rings be taken away? Should he be banned from professional competition from now on?
It’s hard to say what will happen – and – I don’t honestly think that Super Bowl rings would/should be taken away (Lance admitted doping during all TDF’s; Deflategate was just one game). And, perhaps the sheer volume of NFL fans vs. professional cycling fans (read: $$$$) in the USA will mean that nothing more happens.
I just found it interesting to think of how – in the quest for championships – individuals can cheat to win. It’ll be even more interesting to see how things play out for Brady.