Tonawanda News

January 16, 2013

PARRINO: Armstrong and Bonds in same category

Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Tonight at 9 p.m. Lance Armstrong will tell his tale. 

After years of speculation, accusations and, seemingly, lies, it is being reported that he will "come clean" in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that is scheduled to run in a two-part special finishing Friday at 9 p.m. Winfrey herself has said that the seven-time Tour de France winner "confesses" during the interview.

I can't be the only one furious right now, can I?

America has spent the past seven years vilifying and hurling hate at home run king Barry Bonds, and rightfully so. Armstrong has not received equal treatment and he did the same thing.

Especially in the social media age, Armstrong should be getting the business. There is outrage, but nothing compared to what Bonds went through and continues to get.

I read recently on Twitter that a media professional felt sorry for Armstrong because of how much his charity, Livestrong, has done for cancer patients. 

Am I missing something? Is it all of a sudden OK to cheat and lie about it as long as you do charity work?

Bonds cheated, there's no doubt about it even though he's never admitted it, and he should have been excommunicated from the baseball community for his actions — which was evident after he was passed over in his first year of eligibility for the hall of fame. People should place him in a different category because of the stain he helped to leave on the game.

Armstrong should be receiving the same treatment, but he's not. Oh yes, people are mad about what he did and some have even been vocal about it, but he's almost being given a pass by most because of who he is: a white athlete that's known for his contribution to cancer research.

White athletes usually have it a bit easier, don't they? Whether we want to admit it or not, the color of Armstrong's skin has been like a shield on even the most battle-filled days of his public downfall. Even Mark McGwire, arguably the father of steroids, doesn't seem to get the same treatment Bonds does. It's a pretty easy connection to make when you look a bit deeper.

I think what Armstrong has done as the founder of the Livestrong movement has been amazing, but it doesn't absolve him for cheating and then proceeding to lie about it for over a decade.

People should get second chances and sometimes even third, but Armstrong's crime is beyond any more chances. He knowingly cheated and did his best to cover it up, while taking advantage of people.

Bonds was a jerk, that's no secret, and the public's opinion was made with that fact in mind, just like Armstrong's has been made with the perception of him in mind. But that's not right.

They both committed the same injustice and should be placed in the same category. Armstrong will apologize tonight and a lot of people will forgive him, and that's fine, but why he has decided to come clean and the decade of lies won't erase what he's done in my eyes — nor has it for Barry Bonds.



Contact Tonawanda News sports editor Matt Parrino at or on twitter @MattParrino.