How Lance Armstrong Can Rekindle Rick Reilly’s Career
Sports Illustrated has a pretty huge story with supposedly new information that is potentially damning to Lance Armstrong. A long, long, long time denier of doping and steroid use (he doth protest too much, comes to mind), Armstrong’s before a federal grand jury this week to face allegations of doping and more.
Of course he vehemently denies any wrongdoing.
I’ve believed for a long time that Armstrong was doping. Granted I had zero evidence whatsoever, other than that I thought he was an asshole. I kind of hope they take all his Tour de France trophies/medals and melt them down into a hat for Sheryl Crow.
If it comes out that Armstrong used steroids, he’s going to catch a lot of heat. And a lot of that will be because he angrily denied it for so long (lying only makes it worse, kids). That said, he’ll probably still be loved for the good work he did do. And let’s face it, nobody here cares about cycling, so it will all blow over pretty fast, if, in fact, he did use steroids.
The one real question, for me anyway, is: How will Rick Reilly handle this?
If you don’t know, Reilly is a noted Armstrong fanboy. And as a guy who watches with glee as Lance get butt massages, I wonder if he’ll be able to bring himself to broach the subject. After all, if these two guys have such a good relationship, you’d think Reilly would be one of the few able to get a decent if it turns out Armstrong doped. And that would be journalistic gold. Do you think ESPN is pushing him to do this or have they just given up?
Anyway, I realize that this all lies in the hypothetical realm, as Armstrong has yet to be convicted of anything (though, considering the SI piece and the general doping culture of cycling, I’m inclined to believe it). But it will be fun for me to watch. Reilly has been staunchly against steroids, bringing it up at every chance he gets to slam Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.
But Reilly felt slighted by Sosa and Bonds. By Sosa because he felt Sammy lied to him (he probably did, but in his defense, Reilly was being a dick…read the column), and by Bonds because Barry stood him up for an interview. (I think the actual column’s behind glass now) Seriously, Reilly’s like a little girl. Anytime an athlete blows him off or doesn’t tell him the whole truth, or simply ignores him, he writes a snippy little column. It’s been suggested that that’s what happened with Jay Cutler, too.
So, all this is just to wonder, how will Reilly handle it if Armstrong is found to have used steroids? On the one hand, Armstrong is his mancrush. On the other, he has access to Lance that few have. He could be the go-to guy if it happens.It would be huge and could potentially launch him back into journalistic respectability (I’m serious).
At the very least, he has to at least mention it, right? I mean he harps about it still, long after Bonds and Sosa have retired. By all rights he should at least address the steroid issue with Armstrong.
Does Reilly care about salvaging some integrity? Does he care to potentially be the point man on a potentially huge story? Probably not, but who knows. Maybe this is just the thing to snap him out of his 15-year long funk. (Lest we forget, Reilly was once a pretty good writer.)
I’m not really holding my breath, though. Why would he have the drive after ESPN lets him throw crap at the wall once a week for several million dollars?