Lance Armstrong's "Regret" Was Not An "Apology"Main Category: Sports Medicine / Fitness
Also Included In: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Article Date: 18 Jan 2013
Lance Armstrong has expressed regret during his first interview with Oprah Winfrey, but it cannot be considered as an apology, says John Llewellyn, a communications and public relations expert from Wake Forest University.
When asked whether Armstrong's initial interview with Oprah might redeem him after years of saying he had never used performance enhancing drugs, Llewellyn said the answer is "No".
"Armstrong offered an 'explanation' and hinted at regret, but I heard nothing I'd consider an apology. A proper apology has three parts. It expresses regret, offers reparations and promises it won't happen again. Tonight was talk and allusions to actions. Real actions are yet to come and that will take more than chatting between two celebrities."
John Llewellyn is an Associate Professor of Communication. He teaches and researches on rhetoric as well as analyzes persuasive language from civil rights leaders, coaches, politicians etc. He is also known as an authority (expert) on public figure apology.
Llewellyn noticed that during Armstrong's meeting with Oprah, he made very little admission of how involved he was in "conniving in all of this. He spent most of his time deflecting his role in the activities Oprah questioned. It's better than silence, but nowhere close to what he'll have to say or do to redeem himself."
Armstrong would be better off if somebody who was universally respected could supervise his plans for making amends, Llewellyn added. It is interesting that among the top most trusted Americans is the very person he had an interview with - Oprah. Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffet, Tom Hanks and Colin Powell are also among the most trusted in the country.
Llewellyn said "He needs a godfather or godmother that people will trust until they are willing to grant some trust to Armstrong himself. In that respect, talking with Oprah may be one step in that direction."
Which drugs was Armstrong accused of taking?USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency), in its official report, Armstrong was accused of taking the following sports-enhancing drugs:
"Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities."
Is Armstrong making amends?Although Armstrong claims to be reaching out and making amends, there is not much substance behind his actions, either in their quantity or quality. Llewellyn says it would be interesting to hear from the people he has harmed regarding those overtures.
So far, Llewellyn observes, all we have is Armstrong's word that he is doing something to address the harm done to those who worked with him.
"As Americans, we link performance and character in ways for which there is no evidence. We think being physically gifted can make a person morally upright. It's a myth we cherish and Lance Armstrong drives a stake through it."
How do those who defended Armstrong feel today?ESPN Sportswriter, Rick Reilly - who for over a decade defended Armstrong loyally because he was absolutely sure the man was innocent, said yesterday that he now feels like a chump. He admits that it is partially his fault; he allowed himself to admire the brilliant athlete and how he had overcome serious obstacles during this life.
After defending Armstrong for 14 years, Reilly sarcastically said that it might take him another 14 years before he might admire him for opening up this week.
Commentator and journalist, Phil Liggett - a regular speaker at the Livestrong charity events and a faithful defender of Armstrong through the years. The USADA's life ban on Armstrong was described as "political conspiracy" by Liggett in August last year. This week he says he felt duped and deeply saddened after realizing that the man had cheated his way through, and let many people down after apparently taking them into his confidence.
The Washington Post feature writer and columnist Sally Jenkins - co-authored books with Armstrong. At the end of last year she said she could not be angry with Armstrong, despite his doping. In the Charlie Rose Show this week she says she has forgiven Armstrong. She claims that doping is the only option for competitive cyclists, because it is so prolific in that sport.
Livestrong Foundation - a charity founded by Armstrong in 1997. The charity released a written communiqué this week after his initial interview with Oprah:
"We at the Livestrong Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us. Even in the wake of our disappointment, we also express our gratitude to Lance as a survivor for the drive, devotion and spirit he brought to serving cancer patients and the entire cancer community. Lance is no longer on the Foundation's board, but he is our founder and we will always be grateful to him for creating and helping to build a Foundation that has served millions struggling with cancer."
Armstrong's first interview with OprahAfter denying the use of performance-enhancing drugs during his seven Tour de France wins, Lance Armstrong, 41, admitted during an interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey that he had lied and did take illegal drugs to improve his performance.
"I view this situation as one big lie I repeated a lot of times. I made those decisions, they were my mistake and I'm here to say sorry."
The biggest doping program in sporting history? - Armstrong said that others had done worse and in a much bigger scale. He mentioned the East German Olympic teams when it was a communist country. He described what he did as "smart, conservative and risk averse."
Armstrong told Oprah that:
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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