He repeatedly claimed that he was clean. He repeatedly found every reason to believe in him, even when the evidence mounted. He is Rick Reilly, and he is Lance Armstrong.
Well, Rick Reilly came on to talk about the Lance Armstrong interview, and also wrote an article about the “apology letter” with two words that Lance Armstrong sent him. Reilly is upset. He got two words; Betsy Andreu got a forty minute phone call. You would think that the guy that served as Lance Armstrong’s mouthpiece would have gotten a little more than that for all the PR he provided over the years.
He wrote creepy homages interviewing Lance Armstrong’s ass and repeatedly pushed all the Lance talking points. I mean, even after Lance Armstrong had given up, Rick Reilly did not. Reilly wrote this pile four months ago, after Lance Armstrong had stopped fighting, and in the interview last night, after Armstrong said he knew it was done.
I’m wearing something yellow Friday for Lance Armstrong. Not because I think he’s innocent. He just gave up his chance to prove his innocence, so I suppose he isn’t.
But I don’t care. I’m wearing yellow just to say thank you. If he cheated in a sport where cheating is as common as eating, then I’m wearing yellow to thank him for everything he’s done since he cheated.
Now, though, Reilly is finally pissed. Two words were not enough. Neither is one article from a writer who served as a PR mouthpiece. Lance lied to his face? I’m sorry, but that’s his job to know that people with incentives to lie sometimes do so. We have the contrasting stories of Te’0 and Lance Armstrong this week, both which have some cursory similarities in that sports media was too trusting of information being given.
There is, in my mind, a difference, though. Can we check every fact in every thing written? Things would grind to a halt if every humorous little anecdote or story that an athlete tells has to be vetted and checked for complete accuracy. Take Aaron Rodgers and his Cal professor story. He told it on the radio. It was a short little story we passed along here. Are we really going to take the time to go to Cal to dig up the professor’s version of events?
Initially, the Te’o girlfriend story was like that. It did blow up, even though I can say I would have had no idea who Lennay Kekua was before this week. I didn’t watch any of those interviews, but I suppose once features were being done on a topic–when it went beyond blurb and postscript to a story, to THE story–that’s when the fact checking needed to ramp up.
Reilly with Lance is different, though. Armstrong is a liar, he found a mark in Reilly, one that had a large audience. Facts were there, and Reilly chose to ignore them, because Lance cursed while telling him how innocent he was. He made the choice on who to believe, and he used his bullhorn repeatedly. It will take a few more words for Reilly to live down that.