Our View: Does philanthropy outweigh cheating?

DKS Editors

Lance Armstrong recently admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career — but that’s OK because he raised millions for cancer, right?

This August, based on blood samples and testimonies from former teammates, Lance Armstrong was stripped of all titles after 1998 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and received a lifetime ban from competing in further activities and competitions under its jurisdiction. The USADA accused Armstrong of using banned substances, including Erythropoietin and steroids. After years of denying the allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France, finally admitted to Oprah Winfrey in a two-part interview to doping throughout his cycling career, including during his Tour de France victories.

In the interview with Winfrey, which aired Thursday and Friday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Armstrong came clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs but also defended himself, citing his involvement with various charities throughout his life and his foundation of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which supports people affected by cancer. The testicular cancer survivor has raised hundreds of millions of dollars through the sale of his yellow Livestrong bracelets.

So is Armstrong right? Should his former supporters look past his indiscretions and focus on the positives? In our opinion, no. Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles are the reason he became a household name. Without them, would any of us even know who Lance Armstrong is? Celebrities have a way of using their philanthropies to create a better public image of themselves, so in moments like these, they always have their “good intentions” to fall back on. But does philanthropy outweigh cheating?

While Armstrong’s organization may have aided in helping and saving other cancer patients, we can’t help but wonder how much of his efforts were made in an attempt to cover his tracks and keep the public and media attention away from his previously alleged indiscretions. If fans are willing to look past Armstrong’s missteps, are they simply fueling the fire for other wealthy famous people to do the same? In 2007, Michael Vick was found to be a part of an illegal dog-fighting ring, which landed him in prison. Today, he’s the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, raking in millions of dollars and being cheered on by millions of fans every week. And in a few years, the public will probably all but forget Lance Armstrong was ever involved in a doping controversy.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.