ports Illustrated is taking on superstar cyclist Lance Armstrong, in a long article accusing him of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and trying to convince his teammates to take them, too. A federal grand jury is also investigating the doping allegations against Armstrong, which, because his team was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, could open him to federal fraud and drug trafficking charges. Armstrong says he has "nothing to worry about on any level," but does the Sports Illustrated story permanently tarnish Armstrong's case? (Watch Armstrong discuss doping in 2007)
Where is the evidence? There's just one thing missing from Sports Illustrated's doping bombshell, says Dashiell Bennett in Business Insider. "The proof." Amid all the "circumstantial evidence" and "damning accusations" from former friends and teammates, "no one can say (or prove) that they actually saw him take the drugs," and there are no positive drug tests. Sketchier still, everybody named in the hit piece "has something to gain from smearing Lance Armstrong."
"Here's the problem... There's no proof!"
It is past time for Armstrong to fess up: "If this many people are conspiring to ruin Lance Armstrong, he's the Lee Harvey Oswald of modern pop culture," says Cathal Kelly in The Toronto Star. The truth is that the "sheer weight" of the evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, made the doping allegations "impossible to explain away long ago." And if SI's "fairly compelling journalistic evidence" doesn't at least "give Armstrong pause," the man has no shame.
"Same old Lance Armstrong story"
Even if it hurts, fans need to know: To fans, especially Armstrong's fellow cancer survivors, he's more than a superstar athlete, says Christine Brennan in USA Today. He's an inspiration. So it's tempting to say it's better not to know the truth, because "it would be crushing" to find out that "America's greatest untarnished sports icon" is just another cheat. But it's better to know the truth, even if it hurts.
"Would ends justify means for Lance Armstrong?"
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