FanDuel - WFBC

February 15, 2009

Lance Armstrong Rips Reporter Over 'Cancer' Comment : At a press conference Thursday before the Amgen Tour of California, cyclist Lance Armstrong confronted Sunday Times of London columnist Paul Kimmage, who in a September interview called Armstrong a "cancer in this sport" that had been in remission for four years and now was back. More on the confrontation.

posted by rcade to other at 07:49 PM - 23 comments

Velonews link is For Crap; vid won't load. The vid in the second link is viewable, and if that's getting ripped, well...all I can say is, the guy got kinder treatment from Lance than he would have from me.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:59 PM on February 15

He said the guy was worth less than a chair. That's pretty harsh (and entirely well-deserved).

Idle thought: Maybe Kimmage said such obnoxious things to test whether Armstrong suffers from roid rage.

posted by rcade at 09:04 PM on February 15

We should all just forgive and forget, like Lance is doing for Kimmage.

The vid loaded just fine for me, lbb.

posted by BoKnows at 09:14 PM on February 15

As a past sports journalist for my high school, and my local community newspaper, I was thought to show respect and restraint to the subject you are interviewing, it is part of the written and unwritten ethiscs of being a journalist...and a large quantity of common sense.

It reminds me of a young basketball player at our high school that I chose to do a smal feature story on...well after tons of probing quesiton to get him to talk about himself, I only ended up with just one paragraph of information if not almost two...but our high scholl newspaper EDITOR, a fellow classmate, whose position already got to his head, and created the 'God' syndrom in his brain because he has the last call of what is going into the newspaper, said no, we are going to exclude his short story from the paper that week..even though I pleaded that it would be good to put something in there, because I had a gut feeling during my interview of him, that I sensed the young man was somehow depressed and anything, even a short story and a picture of him playing basketball might cheer him up...but my pleads fell unto deaf ears.

It was no later then a week after our high school paper came out without his feature story, that I picked up the local newspaper, that I eventually worked for after high school, and lo and behold, there was a front page story about that basketball player that our Lord Editor decided not to publish. But this front page story was not a very happy one, it was the story of how this young man committed suicide, because his first love, his girlfriend at our high school, just dumped him, and failed to give him a good reason, so he became extremely sad and baffled, which drove him to call her by phone, tell her he loved her, and then he proceeded to shoot himself in the head...

In summary, the power that journalists or their editors have can do good or bad things to humanity, and while some journalists have no problems following a common sense of ethics, unfortunately there are some journalists, who have that 'I am Lord or God syndrome, basically who don't care what the outcome of their public statements are or their published news article will do to humanity, as long as their name is clearly published next to their article, or on the credits of the news staff, like here I am, the EDITOR.

posted by phason at 09:36 PM on February 15

Ride on Lance!

posted by thatch at 10:28 PM on February 15

The backstory here is important: Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride was the first book to break the peloton's omerta on doping. While Kelly and Roche wrote (or ghostwrote) their standard triumph-over-adversity narratives, Kimmage was the amateur from a line of amateur champions who could never make the jump, the domo who stuck out in the peloton because he was the 'next' Irish rider but never won races.

There's one kind of response, which is to say that Kimmage's post-cycling career has been motivated by sour grapes -- that he wasn't that great a bike rider, and deludes himself that he was denied the spoils because everyone around him was doping. There's a fair amount of bitterness there, some of it self-directed, and it clearly shapes his journalism in ways that aren't really helpful.

There's another kind of response, which is to say that the history of the last 25 years of professional cycling is finally being filled out, though memoirs and investigations and repeated scandals. Either Indurain and Armstrong, the dominant champions of the 1990s, are rare exceptions, floating above the fray -- their reigns punctuated by Riis, Ullrich and Pantani -- or they are part of it. But they cannot claim an exemption from it: not least Armstrong, who chose to re-join Bruyneel at Astana and force ASO's hand, and who has seen a handful of former lieutenants hauled off by the authorities during his retirement.

The question isn't necessarily about Armstrong as a potential doper: it's about his perceived incuriosity or disengagement towards the dope culture in which he rode. That was the starting point for Kimmage's original interview (excerpted here) and I understand his anger, born of the belief that the Armstrong-Astana comeback will push aside the impact of Slipstream / Garmin Chipotle on last year's race. ('They had spent so much time with their heads up the arses of the cheats, they had forgotten: this is how it looks when it's clean.') He chose an unpleasant analogy, designed to provoke. But I can't accept that Armstrong exceptionalism has been good for professional cycling, and don't look forward to the next year.

posted by etagloh at 02:52 AM on February 16

Good on Lance! That took real ball!

posted by Drood at 03:27 AM on February 16

He was kind of testy...

posted by owlhouse at 04:17 AM on February 16

The question isn't necessarily about Armstrong as a potential doper: it's about his perceived incuriosity or disengagement towards the dope culture in which he rode. That was the starting point for Kimmage's original interview (excerpted here) and I understand his anger, born of the belief that the Armstrong-Astana comeback will push aside the impact of Slipstream / Garmin Chipotle on last year's race.

etagloh, I don't think any of that gives someone a pass for use of the word "cancer" to refer to a cancer survivor. Maybe Lance's indignation is totally cynical and he's secretly chortling with glee at being handed a golden opportunity to deflect scrutiny...or, just possibly, maybe he's someone who's been through hell, who has survived, who has done some valuable things to assist other survivors, who through his work has seen the wreckage this disease makes of so many lives, and maybe he really truly feels that Kimmage trivialized all that in order to make a cheap point. I don't know Kimmage or what combination of arrogance and idiocy led him to make such a gaffe, but it's hard to find a way to view it charitably.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:32 AM on February 16

Etagloh left out one important part of Kimmage's background. His journalistic career was encouraged and mentored by David Walsh. The same David Walsh who has spent last 10 years hounding Armstrong and others in cycling about doping and insisting that Armstrong must have doped because he couldn't have achieved what he did clean. That fact makes me question Kimmage's objectivity. I'm no apologist for doping in cycling. I believe WADA and UCI are trying hard to remove it from the sport. What amazes me is how many people are critical of cycling, but blind to drug problems in a host of other sports. For example, Operacion Puerto in Spain has been reported widely as a blood doping ring for cycling. But cyclists only represent 30% of the names associated with Operacion Puerto. The rest came from soccer, track&field, etc. Has anyone been asking the international governing bodies from these sports what they are doing to clean up their sports?

posted by BikeNut at 09:49 AM on February 16

We should all just forgive and forget, like Lance is doing for Kimmage

If you saw the video, Lance told Kimmage that he will never forgive him for making the "cancer was in remission" statement and rightfully so. To make a comment like that after what Lance has been thru is beyond unprofessional.

Then he wonders why Lance didn't give him an interview.

posted by BornIcon at 10:23 AM on February 16

Has Paul Kimmage ever apologized for his cancer remark? The stories I've read suggest he hasn't, and he continues to use cancer as a metaphor. "I'm interested in the cancer of doping in cycling," he told Armstrong.

I like the fact that the UK press is more combative than the US, where ass-kissing pals like Peter King set the standard for how to treat pros. But Kimmage is just an ass. The "cancer" metaphor isn't even a good one, and the fact he thought Armstrong would give him a one-on-one interview is insane.

posted by rcade at 11:31 AM on February 16

Kimmage did not get his interview. But will we see tomorrow whether he got his story. "You don't have a patent on cancer," he told Armstrong. "I'm interested in the cancer of doping in cycling. That has been my life's work. I raced as a professional and I exposed it. Then you come along and the problem disappears."

See, he talks about the cancer of doping like it is actual cancer and not some lame metaphor he's fixated on. He ought to be given a timeout to remember what's important about the work he does; finding the truth where it is, not where he wants it to be.

posted by dfleming at 01:17 PM on February 16

maybe he really truly feels that Kimmage trivialized all that in order to make a cheap point.

Kimmage thinks that Armstrong trivialises the efforts of professional cycling to clean itself up. That's clearly a matter of perspective, and not one where cycling takes priority; all that said, Armstrong was the one who chose to get back on his bike. In an Astana jersey.

Is Kimmage an arsehole with a chip on his shoulder? Yeah. Does Armstrong's extraordinary career and work off the bike cast a reality-distortion field around the dirty business of team cycling? Yeah. These statements aren't incompatible.

posted by etagloh at 02:57 PM on February 16

BI, I did watch the video. I wouldn't have been able to quote something if I hadn't. While I do think what Kimmage said was deliberately low-class and completely unprofessional, I don't think that LA should ask that the media/fans should forgive and forget, then announce that he himself will not follow that same policy.

I understand the difference between what Kimmage said and what Lance is asking for us to forgive and forget, but LA did set himself up for my sarcastic comment.

posted by BoKnows at 08:48 PM on February 16

And Kimmage strikes back.

posted by BoKnows at 09:40 PM on February 16

So the best Armstrong can manage when he's not on the gas was 10th?

posted by Drood at 11:10 PM on February 16

BI, I did watch the video. I wouldn't have been able to quote something if I hadn't.

Explain. What quote do you speak of because you did not quote anyone on your post. You're comment was "{w}e should all just forgive and forget, like Lance is doing for Kimmage" and in the video, Lance clearly tells Kimmage that he will NEVER forgive him for his "cancer" comment.

posted by BornIcon at 09:32 AM on February 17

So the best Armstrong can manage when he's not on the gas was 10th?

Wow, that's a weak comment.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:41 AM on February 17

He is in 4th now. must have juiced up last night, Huh Drood

posted by Debo270 at 12:47 PM on February 17

BI, You are right, I didn't use a quote. However I did refer to something that LA said in the video - forgiving and forgetting. Why you argue that is strange to me, nor is it going to help prove or disprove any points, because as I said in my second post, it was a sarcastic comment.

posted by BoKnows at 09:47 PM on February 17

Why you argue that is strange to me..

See, that's how we differ in opinion. You tend to look at it as if we're arguing while I look at it as if we're having a simple discussion. What's so wrong about two people have a difference of opinions and talking about it?

You made the statement that you quoted someone but there was no quote attached. Maybe you meant to quote someone but you did not and I simply pointed that out. You said that it was a sarcastic comment after the fact.

No harm, no foul.

posted by BornIcon at 02:30 PM on February 23

Wow, this is pretty far down the front page, BI. Yeesh, make me use that scrolly thing on the mouse and all.

I look at argue=debate=discuss. I meant nothing in a negative light. Now, go argue=debate=discuss the Dallas Cowboys or something about ARod.

(Meant with humor attached)

posted by BoKnows at 09:09 PM on February 23

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