Opinion: Armstrong should be stripped of titles


I think we all remember wearing those yellow LIVESTRONG bands and not knowing what they really stood for except that the proceeds went toward cancer research.

Lance Armstrong, “American hero” and creator of LIVESTRONG, has been banished from cycling, stripped from his seven Tour de France titles, dropped from endorsements and is now facing millions of dollars worth of lawsuits.

After years of allegations, Armstrong revealed to Oprah Winfrey last Monday in an on-camera interview that he had been doping throughout most of his cycling career. He began using in the mid-1990s, prior to his battle and defeat with testicular cancer, which had eventually spread to his lungs and brain.

The largest question is does Armstrong deserve a lifetime ban from competing? And is it fair that if he makes a full confession under oath, that his punishment could potentially be reduced to eight years?

I think that his banishment is completely just. If you are going to break rules, you deserve to be punished. If an athlete is using performance enhancers, that athlete should be stripped of their titles and awards and not be able to compete again. Not only is using performance enhancers an unfair advantage but it is also illegal, unsafe and unethical.

Just as when a celebrity or athlete gets a DUI for drinking and driving, Armstrong should be punished for his choices as well. This may not have put others in danger as drinking and driving might, but his dishonesty for almost two decades of awards and titles is unjust.

It is being said that he is done with cycling forever. There is no possible way for a comeback similar to other athletes such as Tiger Woods, Michael Vick or Michael Phelps, all of whom have all been involved in other charges. Honestly, he should be done forever. By using performance enhancers, Armstrong is being selfish and unfair to those who train day and night but cannot achieve greatness because of Armstrong's “talent.”

Pat McQuaid, Union Cycliste Internationale President, went as far as saying Armstrong “deserves to be forgotten in cycling.” It may sound harsh for someone to say that he deserves to be forgotten, but if it were not for performance enhancers, who knows if he could achieved a fraction of the titles he “earned.”

Last year, Armstrong was forced to leave his LIVESTRONG charity after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a 1,000 page report on the accusations that he has been using performance enhancers. The report included almost a dozen testimonies from former teammates, which should have raised a red flag to investigate more thoroughly a year ago.

Armstrong is facing millions of dollars worth of lawsuits from all over the world, which should be paid back in full. His titles were taken away, and the money should be taken away as well, seeing as he is undeserving of any type of recognition at all.

Mercedes Ynocencio is a junior strategic communications major from St. Charles, Illinois.