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Will the public accept cyclist Lance Armstrong's 'crocodile tears?'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cyclist Lance Armstrong atone time had deals with numerous companies such as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Radio Shack. That all came crashing to the ground when Armstrong was banned for life from competing in Olympic sports due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs. The subject of a brutal report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong will go public with his wrongdoing on two episodes of the Oprah Winfrey TV talk how. Many are cynical, citing that Armstrong's brand value is "near zero," and the public at large has not time for his "crocodile tears."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While Armstrong earned millions in prize money from winning the Tour de France, his net worth clearly lied in celebrity endorsements.

"Lance knows he's poison as is, and my guess is he believes if he apologizes... and cries big crocodile tears it won't solve his problems immediately, but it will at least start the process," Richard Burton, David Falk professor of sports management at Syracuse University says.

Some feel that while Armstrong can't save his career or his fortune, an admission of doping might rehabilitate Lance Armstrong's charity and his legacy. On the other hand -- there's no performance enhancing drug that can give Armstrong, who was stripped of seven titles for that race last year, for this apology tour.

"His brand value during his yellow jersey days was almost immeasurable," Mark Serrano, CEO of ProActive Communications says. "I think there were probably few brands in the world that were worth in excess of $20 million a year, and he was one of them."

"Today we're looking at a brand value of near zero."

Armstrong seemingly can't catch a break anywhere these days. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, speaking on the Today news program, characterized his admission as motivated by public relations and a desire for control - but not sincere contrition.

"To me this is like some giant, athletic Ponzi scheme that went on and on and built and built," Lupica said.

Armstrong may hope that his admission will persuade the USADA to lift his lifetime ban against competing in triathlons or other events. Most agree that his cycling career is almost certainly over. "This may be a case of too little, too late," Marcia Horowitz, senior executive vice president at public relations firm Rubenstein Associates says.

There is seemingly no salvation for Armstrong in the eyes of the sports world. Burton suggests that his ban would be lifted any time this decade, meaning Armstrong would be around 50 before he could race again.

He'd be competing against athletes half his age, and "if he does well, it's going to immediately suggest that he's doping again," Burton said. "It's a 'Catch-22.'"

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