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It’s Not About the Bike: Lance Armstrong and the Magic Tests

Posted in Sports Business and the Law

By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esq. and Sekou Campbell, Esq.

I have been privileged in the past to represent the Trek Bicycle Company. Hugely energetic, straightforward and forward thinking people, making a superior product. Having said that, I was in their offices in Wisconsin when Lance Armstrong’s book came out, which he titled It’s Not About the Bike.  For what the were paying him, how could it not have been about the bike?  For years, Trek used Armstrong as their spokesperson and the identity of the two worked perfectly. Now we learn that if it was not about the bike, it clearly was about something else.  Armstrong never tested positive and yet there were apparently legions of witnesses willing to say that he had doped.

Now for a different view…..how do you judge someone who cheats death by testicular cancer?  For that matter, how do you judge a runner who has both legs amputated and runs with the aid of metal blades?  I have never been a fan of moral relativism, but I am reminded of the great line from the movie "Ray" where his wife confronts him with his unfaithfulness. His retort (paraphrased) is that when he walks out of the door of his home, each time he is alone, blind and black. Query: does Trek have a suit against Armstrong for violating a morals clause or for fraud or breach of contract? Second query: given the results in the Roger Clemens trial, what jury would find against him?

 

Whether it’s bikes, blades, blindness, or biotechnology, humankind will likely always struggle with its limitations and the moral implications of the inventions it comes up with to overcome them. Or, to put it more eloquently:

Yet nature is made better by no mean

But nature makes that mean: so, over that art

Which you say adds to nature, is an art

That nature makes…

The art itself is nature.

William Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale.