Once upon a time Lance Armstrong could boast seven Tour de France victories, a major partnership with Nike, and overcoming his battle with testicular cancer. Now, after being stripped of his seven wins and being banned from professional cycling for life for taking performance-enhancing drugs, he does not have much to brag about. Armstrong now has different battles to fight, none of which requires him to ride a bike.
In January 2013, Armstrong admitted to taking illicit performance-enhancing drugs that led to his success on the bike and multiple million-dollar endorsement deals. Before his lifetime ban, Armstrong was estimated to be worth $125 million, but combined with the loss of endorsements and many recent lawsuits that number is quickly dwindling.
These days Lance Armstrong is fighting numerous lawsuits for fraud and perjury related to his continuous denial of taking performance-enhancing drugs. His admission of guilt led to an almost immediate cancelation of sponsorship deals with Nike, Trek Bicycle Corp and Anheuser-Busch just to name a few.
According to Juliet Macur of the New York Times, Armstrong explained to her his plan to rebuild his image and reputation. “He said his plan was to keep a low profile and quietly earn back public trust, partly by apologizing to the people he had stepped on or, in some cases, tried to destroy,” she wrote in her recent article Lance Armstrong’s Ugly Detour From Road to Redemption.
Armstrong seemed to have a good plan or at least it was a good start, but he has seemingly failed to repair some of the relationships he destroyed as is apparent with the mounting number of lawsuits. He could have completely avoided most of his problems by simply not cheating. But when he did, he still had countless opportunities to come clean, but he refused. He continuously denied allegations and even threatened those that accused him of cheating.
An easy way for Armstrong to repair his reputation would be to make an effort to work with Nike to continue the incredible charity work through the Livestrong Foundation that he started in 1997. The foundation was developed to support those affected by cancer. Though Nike cut ties with the Livestrong foundation because of Armstrong’s cheating scandal, the organization should continue with its mission to “inspire and empower” cancer survivors and their families.
It is a shame that Armstrong’s lying and cheating have tainted the foundation and lost the support of Nike. However, it is extremely important for people to understand the incredible impact that Livestrong has made and, like it or not, it is all owed to Lance Armstrong. His battle with cancer is something that he shares with many people, and though he cheated in sport, he does have a lot that he can teach others. He also has a lot to apologize for.
Armstrong now has an opportunity to educate, advise and support those battling with cancer. He can also open up about his mistakes and teach people about the negative effects of cheating and performance-enhancing drugs. This would be a great way to slowly earn back some respect and shape his new image. Armstrong needs to promote himself as someone that made serious and unacceptable mistakes. However, he also needs to show that he has learned from those mistakes. He can repair his reputation by taking full responsibility, apologize, showing people specifically what he has learned, and what he will do in the future to fix those mistakes.