June 13, 2012; Source: Washington Post
Yesterday, the Washington Post broke the news that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is leveling formal charges against renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong, contending that it has information from “multiple riders with firsthand knowledge” that will testify that, as the Post put it, “Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and masking agents, and that he distributed and administered drugs to other cyclists from 1998 to 2005.” As a result of the charges, Armstrong cannot currently enter any more triathlons, and if the charges are found to be true, he could stand to lose his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong is, of course, not only a cyclist but also a cancer survivor whose “LIVESTRONG” yellow wristbands triggered a nationwide nonprofit fundraising trend. Armstrong also remains the figurehead of his titular foundation (which also goes by the name LIVESTRONG at times). The foundation directed more than $28 million toward cancer-related programs, grants, and advocacy in 2010.
Doug Ulman, the president and CEO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, released a statement in response to the allegations directed at the superstar cyclist. It reads, in part:
“Our hearts go out to Lance and his family as they face what can only be a very frustrating and difficult time as a result of USADA’s actions. Lance’s courage in speaking out about cancer—when many athletes would have kept silent—helped spark a global change in how the disease and its survivors are perceived…Through his dedication and persistence on behalf of the foundation and its mission, nearly $500 million has been raised to serve cancer survivors and their families. We are incredibly proud of his record as a highly effective global cancer advocate and enormously grateful for his generosity as our biggest contributor. Nothing will change that. We remain steadfastly supportive of Lance, a champion for cancer survivors everywhere.”
Armstrong vehemently denies the USADA’s allegations, and NPQ has no information that would signal who is right or wrong in this standoff. So until the evidence can be weighed and debated, we’ll pass on the “did he or didn’t he” question. In the meantime, we’d like to ask you this: other than issuing the supportive press release excerpted above, what should the Lance Armstrong Foundation be doing right now in the midst of this (unwanted) media attention? –Mike Keefe-Feldman