Miss O'Reilly is an Irish massage therapist. Very limited financial means. While in her twenties, she hit the employment jackpot -- she joined the sports team of Lance Armstrong, an American cancer victim and racer in the Tour de France.
O'Reilly was good at her job, but then discovered Armstrong was doping his way through his Tour de France victories. She did what honest people are supposed to do -- let the world know of the cheater in their midst.
Armstrong's response? He tried to sue her into oblivion. He had his media team call her a whore and a drunk. He wanted her to shut up. To go away. How dare she tell anyone he wasn't clean. He was going to destroy her life.
Armstrong recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey to come clean about taking performance enhancing drugs for his seven Tour de France victories in a row. The statute of limitations on his testimony has passed, so he can't be brought up on perjury charges during the 2005 investigation. His Livestrong Foundation is in shambles as people no longer want to support his legacy.
And now, he says he's sorry. Like doing so will wipe out fourteen years of lying, bullying, and punishing people like O'Reilly for telling the truth he didn't want out there.
Armstrong has always been an arrogant prick. Part of the reason his confession was such a surprise to me was that, as recently as Christmas, he posted a Twitter pic of him relaxing on his couch with the seven Tour de France victory jerseys hanging on the walls around him. This was after the committee determined he cheated. They stripped him of his titles. But he still has those jerseys. He still won, no matter what they said.
Armstrong's interview is also hilariously arrogant. When the subject of suing O'Reilly comes up, he says, "To be honest, Oprah (oh, that's a nice change of pace -- G), we sued so many people, I'm sure we did. She's one of those people I have to apologize to. She got run over, got bullied." Notice how he makes that passive, like something bad that happened to her, not something he actively did. He didn't say, "I ran her over, I bullied her," it was "She got run over, got bullied." You did it, you heartless bastard.
He did it to her and several other people trying to tell the truth while he became a god among men. I had cancer, and won the Tour de France seven times. I'm Superman.
No. Superman has a moral compass. You do not.
There's an old Polish proverb that says, "Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads innocent." The most frequent defense is that everyone participating in the Tour de France cheats. Yeah, sports are full of cheaters. So much so that, if you play fairly, you're at a disadvantage. So what do you do?
Simple: you don't play. Rick Telander had it right -- we act as individuals, not as groups. Even if everyone else does it, it all comes down to what we did or did not do. Armstrong made the conscious choice to be a cheater. The only thing he proved was he was a better cheater than the rest.
Armstrong is trying to milk public sympathy. It's why he went on Oprah, because she will toss focused questions and not go into areas he doesn't want.
Until Armstrong restores O'Reilly's name, career, and integrity, and all the other people he bulldozed trying to keep his lie alive, I will not forgive him. I will only call him a cheat.
A cheat and a monster.