Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lance Armstrong: Cocaine dealers lining up for Oprah interview.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
Thousands in prison see hope for reprieve.
by Richard Mellor

On hearing that two millionaires, one the confessor, the other playing the role of priest, will be having their little get together televised in the US Thursday and Friday, I wondered if Oprah might start a bi-weekly “Confess to Oprah” show. There are thousands of petty dope dealers languishing in US prisons, some will be there for decades and some dealt merely to feed their own habits and might get off with a few years in the slammer, but surely Oprah can find the time to give them the opportunity to come clean.

It turns out Lance Armstrong was more than just a hapless user of illicit drugs: “The evidence is overwhelming that Lance Armstrong ………supplied them to his team mates” a US Anti-Doping Agency report claims and is “…alleged to have bullied team-mates” in to taking drugs and to participate in the cover up. Armstrong has denied for years that he took such drugs on his way to seven Tour de France victories.

Big business made lots of money from Armstrong’s successes as the capitalist mass media brought this hero in to our homes and in to the hearts of young people throughout the world. Armstrong himself has made millions that he may well have to pay back as numerous lawsuits are in the works from organizations and businesses that sponsored him including the US post office.  That comes on top of his profits as a supplier. He might have to return the libel award he won from a British newspaper. 

We are talking about a major player here, “He as not just a part of the doping culture, he enforced and reinforced it” the USADA report states adding that, “..the doping report on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong was, massive and pervasive”

The advertisers will make some big bucks with the televising of the confession as the coupon clippers that run these corporations seek to make some money back on Armstrong’s misfortune.  Oprah has announced that she was “satisfied” with Armstrong’s honesty during the interview.  Well that’s nice Oprah; would that some poor slob in San Quentin received such praise.  According to reports in the media, Armstrong has “expressed interest” in finding some way to compete again, in triathlons and other events so honesty will help him now and so will Oprah.

The movers and shakers at firms like Nike that have accumulated great wealth off the backs of the factory workers of Bangladesh, Vietnam and China don’t like negative publicity that will tarnish their image as wholesome, principled businesses that care about their workers, consumers and the “American Way” of fairness and Christian living.  It is inconceivable that they don’t turn a blind eye to this stuff as long as the money keeps rolling in. They all may go after him financially but it remains to be seen. The confession is designed to show how remorseful he is, how ashamed yet courageous in sharing all with the world after ten years of falsehood and the possibility of making some bucks on his rehabilitation seems possible.

I don’t have much sympathy for Armstrong as thousands of workers and poor people, the majority of them people of color, languish in the American gulag. But Armstrong is also a victim.  The pressure to succeed, to stay ahead of the rivals, to win at all costs, to make money for the coupon clippers, this is overwhelming.  This is what destroys artists, athletes and workers alike.  Sport is a commodity, art as film is a commodity as great films are determined by how much they take in at the box office rather than what they express about life.  The players are only useful as long as they can make their masters rich.  This is why so many young artists are finished at 30, or hooked on drugs as they try to maintain an impossible schedule and keep ahead of the pack.  For women in this filthy industry the pressure is even greater. 

Armstrong found the help he needed but he is just another fallen hero until the next one comes along.  Remember Hertz kept OJ as a draw, running through airports when it was known to many he had domestic violence issues. When it could be ignored no more, he was let go. As big a dope dealer he is, him and people like Barry Bonds, are small potatoes when it comes to the real criminals.

There will be many more fallen heros like Armstrong as long as sport and healthy competition, a vital part of human society and culture is a business serving the interest of a corporate elite whose sole purpose for participating in it is the profit motive.

If we want to get the drugs out of sport we have to get the capitalists out of it. The same with the workplace.

No comments: