Lance Armstrong Needs Our Sympathy

Lance ArmstrongFew public figures are more hated right now than Lance Armstrong.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST on OWN, he reportedly admits publicly for the first time to using performance enhancing drugs during his professional career as a cyclist.

On Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, many are responding to the news with anger and disgust -- but at least one writer says Lance Armstrong deserves our sympathy.

Here's why.


In The Daily Caller, television anchor Laurie Dhue writes that like much of nation, she'll be tuning in to the interview tomorrow night. She writes:

I’ll be watching not just to see an admission of guilt, but to see an admission that he’s an addict, just like me, and needs help, just like I did.

Dhue, herself a recovering alcoholic, believes that Armstrong became addicted to doping not for the high, but in order to meet the extraordinary pressure he faced to win. This from her post:

Many people assume that steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are not addictive because there is no “high” associated with their use. But there is, according to Dr. [Scott] Bienenfeld. “Once you try it and it works, you’re expected to perform at a higher level,” he told me. “You taste success and victory and there is definitely a high that comes with it. You realize that you need to keep employing that external enhancer in order to keep winning, otherwise you’ll just be with the herd.”

She hopes to see Armstrong admit not only to doping during Oprah's interview, but also to being an addict. And while she believes he should be held accountable for his actions, she urges us, particularly those in recovery, to show empathy for Armstrong.

Judging from the reactions I'm seeing online, empathy is the last emotion on the minds of most people when it comes to Lance Armstrong. Americans don't take it well when one of their heroes turns out to be a fraud.

As a mother, Armstrong's admission is particularly disappointing -- Lance Armstrong is the kind of man that we want to present to our kids as a role model. To find out he was cheating on such a grand scale is a huge letdown to so many families who viewed Armstrong as a symbol of perseverance and overcoming the odds.

Still, I think Dhue makes some interesting points. What about you?

Does Lance Armstrong deserve our sympathy or our condemnation?


Image via Splash News

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