Lance Armstrong suggests that the government was more than willing to overlook doping on the U.S. Postal Service professional cycling team out of its own self-interest. It apparently didn’t matter so much that Armstrong and his teammates used anabolic steroids such as testosterone and blood-boosting drugs such as erythropoietin (EPO). USPS was receiving enormous favorable publicity. And that’s all that mattered according to a recent motion filed by the attorneys for the disgraced cyclist.
Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France and became one of the most celebrated professional athletes in the United States. But that was before the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pressured his teammates to rat out Armstrong and provide sworn testimony against Armstrong.
In a ‘reasoned decision” approaching 200 pages, and accompanied by over 1,000 in supporting documentation and affidavits, USADA produced overwhelming evidence that PEDs such as EPO and steroids were rampant on the USPS pro cycling team. In exchange for testifying against Armstrong, his teammates were given reduced bans of six months. Meanwhile, Armstrong was given a lifetime ban from competing in professional cycling (and any other sport that has adopted the anti-doping code published by the World Anti-Doping Agency).
But that was only the beginning of Armstrong’s problems. Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for using steroids, filed a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the federal government alleging that Armstrong defrauded the government when he used PEDs in violation of his USPS contract.
The federal government enjoined Landis’ lawsuit putting the full resources of the government behind the effort to sue Armstrong. Armstrong has an estimated net worth of approximately $150 million dollars earned during the course of his professional career. However, the Landis-government lawsuit is seeking as much as $120 million dollars. Landis could receive 25 percent of any amout recovered.
In court documents filed in relation to the lawsuit, Armstrong argued that the government should have known that he was doping. There had been extensive media coverage throughout his career about allegations of doping. But in spite of the media reports of doping at USPS pro cycling team, the USPS renewed its contract rather than ask question about doping and/or otherwise investigate the allegations.
“Instead, the Postal Service renewed the Sponsorship Agreement and basked in the favorable publicity of its sponsorship. It is now far too late for the government to revisit its choice to reap the benefits of sponsorship rather than investigate allegations of doping.”
Furthermore, Armstrong’s attorneys argue that Landis should not be entitled to receive any damages as part of the lawsuits. After all, Landis was involved in the very same doping behavior that Armstrong participated in.
“The government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure, and acclaim that goes along with being a sponsor. It got exactly what it bargained for.”
Armstrong was asked once against about the doping in cycling during his time as a competitors. He repeated the refrain that he didn’t do anything that wasn’t already commonplace in the sport. Contrary to claims by USADA that the USPS was the “most sophisticated” doping program in the history of sport, Armstrong says he was just doing what everyone else was doing.
“It wasn’t a pretty time (in professional cycling). I didn’t invent it and I didn’t end it,” Armstrong said. “My bad for playing along.”
McCann, J. (July 25, 2013). US Postal should have KNOWN I was doping says Lance Armstrong as he fights back against multi-million dollar lawsuit. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2377540/Lance-Armstrong-USPS-known-I-doping.html