Lessons from Lance Armstrong's admission...

Error message

I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth. - Job 29:16, 17

So now, twenty years later, Lance Armstrong has admitted it. But with him, "sorry" does not seem to be the hardest word—dispassionate doesn't begin to describe his performance.

Yet by some strange logic Armstrong's admission has given comfort to Hein Verbruggen, the man who ran the International Cycling Union's filthiest years, 1991-2005. Now named ICU's honorary president, Verbruggen responded to Armstrong's admissions: "(It is) good that Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping... (At the ICU) there was no cover-up."

If anyone still needed to to be told, Armstrong's admission put the final nail in the coffin of those faithful ones still holding the flame for professional cycling's honor the past twenty years. Armstrong said as he saw it, even with doping he competed on a level playing field and had no unfair advantage.

Think about it: this precise admission is what emboldens the man who presided over such systemic cheating and deception to issue a press release saying he's now vindicated. Boggles the mind.

He held the final position of authority...

over the sport all these years; he heard every last accusation and (should have) read ever article and book, he watched every peloton member come clean and saw the news accounts of each lawsuit; and now that Armstrong admits his entire cycling life was one long cheat, Verbruggen thumps his chest and calls out, "See, I told you I didn't know!"

For shame. He's worse than Lance Armstrong because he should have known. Or let me put it this way: he did know. Everyone across the sport knew. There was not one person who didn't know. Anyone who claimed not to know was a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil monkey. For fifteen years a mushroom cloud the size of Mt. Everest hovered over the sport, it was miles high and visible across the horizon, and this guy says he didn't see it?

In response to Armstrong's admissions, Verbruggen's successor to the helm of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, also issued a statement: "Lance Armstrong's decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport. [And] Lance Armstrong has confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy between the UCI and Lance Armstrong..."

Then McQuaid fed the press this howler: "the UCI has been at the forefront of the fight against doping in sport."

Yes yes; of course.

When a ship goes aground, the captain is fired—whether he was on the bridge or off in his cabin, asleep.

The principal is responsible for his school, the president for his college, the coach for his team, the mayor for his city, the governor for his state, the king for his kingdom, the Supreme Court Justices for their nation's unborn children, the husband for his wife and household, the pastor for his elders, and the elders for their flock. Every man who presides over the corruption of his charge is responsible for that corruption.

Like Paterno, Verbruggen should have known. It was his obligation to know, and the fact no one can prove he was paid off not to know and the one who made the payment swears there was no quid pro quo means less than nothing. The money is beside the point.

It was Verbruggen's obligation to protect those under his protection and he utterly failed.

Similarly, husbands, fathers, pastors, and elders will be held responsible for those oppressions and sufferings and bondages no one explicitly told us about, but we saw and heard and smelled and should have entered into and found out about, giving ourselves to the bloody awful work of liberating the prisoners and proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor.


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!