One is tempted to say no, since this ensemble of traits bears a disturbing similarity to the psychopathic personality. Let us hope that Armstrong is capable of leaving his old self behind and building a healthier personal identity.
Any lifting of his lifetime ban from officially recognized competitions should be made contingent on his absolute and total cooperation with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong must demonstrate some good faith by revealing everything he knows about the illicit trade in doping drugs as well as the cynical and opportunistic doctors who have profited from these corrupt arrangements.
John Hoberman teaches at the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of "Mortal Engines: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport." He was a consultant in 2005 for the SCA Promotions of Dallas, the insurance company demanding that Lance Armstrong repay a total of $7.5 million it paid to him in Tour de France bonuses.
Shawn Klein: If he cooperates, maybe the lifetime ban could be reduced
After years of adamant denials and protestations of his innocence, Lance Armstrong has reportedly come forward to admit his use of prohibited performance enhancing drugs. If Armstrong is sincerely contrite and forthright in his apology, most people, including myself, will forgive him for his use of prohibited drugs.
He cheated in a sport known for its widespread cheating; that doesn't justify his use but it does put his actions into an understandable context that makes it easier to excuse the use. Further, if Armstrong cooperates with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, his lifetime ban from cycling ought to be reduced to something more reasonable.
The more troubling aspects of the Armstrong case are the allegations that he harassed and intimidated team members and potential whistle-blowers. Violating the arbitrary rules of a sport shows a character flaw and poor judgment, but it is hard to see who else is truly harmed by such actions. But to threaten, intimidate and coerce others (either to use performance enhancing drugs themselves or to cover up his team's use) causes real harm.
Even if only some of these reports are accurate, Armstrong will have to do more than sit on Oprah's couch to earn forgiveness. Shawn Klein teaches at the Department of Philosophy and Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford College in Illinois and writes the Sportsethicist blog.
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