Tag Archives: Floyd Landis

But Everybody Else Is Doing It

Ah, the ultimate in deflection and justification. The stuff of childhood and apparently an accepted part of adulthood in some circles.  Granted there is an ethical piece to going with that excuse, but to many it seems the question is more “will the excuse hold water”?  Will it buy the shadow of a doubt, the sympathy or the forgiveness one seeks?  Or better yet, does it justify the behavior in question, does it make the wrong decision a bit less wrong?  An ethical roll of the dice maybe?  Like any roll of the dice, the unknown is in the outcome.

I could not help but think of that wonderful excuse of childhood when I read the below quote from Floyd Landis:

“But there was no scenario in my mind where I was ever going to get the chance to race the Tour de France and win clean. There was no good scenario. It was either cheat or get cheated. And I’d rather not be the guy getting cheated.”

Granted the Floyd Landis journey has been “interesting”, but I have to admit, his quote in the recent Paul Kimmage interview is telling on a host of levels.  Truth be told, as much as I have never been a fan of the “everybody else is doing it” line of reasoning, I did feel for the guy when I reflected on the above.  On some very real level he has a point.  However, it is the life lesson in that quote that it would be wise of us all to remember.

How much of what is going on around us is really a case of “cheat or get cheated” thinking? Clearly Floyd Landis gave us the example of cycling, but might there be a bit of that in the “financial crisis”? Bankers, lenders, borrowers, brokers…maybe a touch of “but everybody else is doing it” floating around there in the roaring market just a few years back.  And take a moment Sunday when everyone is gathered around that classic American event, the Super Bowl. Might there be one or two guys on that field who have faced that debate of “cheat or get cheated” when it comes to steroids…maybe.

The challenge we all face, as leaders, as parents, and as people, is to ensure we are never creating situations of “cheat or get cheated”. It is not easy. It is sometimes not easy to recognize when we have created such an environment, and it is certainly not easy to acknowledge it when we have. Especially in those cases where everything seems to be moving along nicely. Let’s face it, when revenues are up, times are good, the kids are getting good grades, the money is flowing, who really wants to ask the hard “why”.

As much as any of us hate that classic excuse of a child, the Super Bowl will be one of the most watched events of the year. Are we sanctioning the behaviour and justification of “well everyone else is doing it” by our watching the game? Who knows, but to some degree I will be watching. Unless of course the weather is decent, in which case I will be out on the bike.

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Yes, It Can Hurt Worse

Just ask Roger Clemens – indicted for lying to Congress.  Ouch, now that is some pain.  A few months back we pointed to the world of sports and performance enhancing drugs as an example of why admitting mistakes is a far better course of action than unfounded denial.  Thank you again Floyd Landis for the lesson.  And in the event anyone needed additional reinforcement, Mr. Clemens bubbles up in the news today.

Own It…Even When It Hurts seems to be almost naive at this point; folksy in a way.  It is bad enough when your reputation is in tatters and your legacy is tainted.  However couple that with a federal indictment and you have real pain.  As if anyone needed to have the lesson driven home; there is no way around the truth – admit, apologize and move on.  Alex Rodriquez came clean (relatively) once he was caught.  He is fine and his career continues – all is forgiven.  Roger Clemens painted himself into a corner and kept up the charade – he is in a real mess.  Liars pay in the end.  The form of payment might change, but the pain is always real.

Truth be told I fear for what might be coming in the world of sports and high-profile athletes.  There are some very damming accusations and innuendo being bantered about.  I just hope that if there is a truth to be told, the lesson of Roger Clemens is heeded.  It is obvious the Federal Government has taken an interest.  Unfortunately, it should not take the threat of jail to get to the truth, but that is the world in which we live.  Maybe these high-profile “falls from grace” will help bring back that folksy idea of owning it even when it hurts…maybe.

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Own It…Even When It Hurts

Once again, hats off to the world of sports for providing yet additional support to an age-old adage. Ownership of your decisions and a bit of contrition will go much farther, much faster, than denial. Denial in the face of facts is never a winning strategy – never. It simply delays the inevitable.

The latest example involves Floyd Landis and the world of cycling.  Shocking as it might be to learn of doping in sports, Floyd now acknowledges he was doping…after 4 years of denials.  Of course he denied the test results (both of them) and fought his 2 year ban from the sport and accused everyone and every institution remotely tied to the process as being tainted and aligned against him.   4 years, a book, a legal defense fund, countless interviews pleading his innocence and several million dollars later he admits it.  He looks like a complete fool.  His reputation and legacy totally trashed.

To reinforce the lesson, consider a few quick case studies of other epic sports dopers:

Barry Bonds – Denies It – Publicly hated – the face of the steroid era.

Alex Rodriquez – Owns it – Totally forgotten in a matter of weeks.

Roger Clemens – Denies It – The sordid details keep on seeping out – his reputation and legacy in tatters.

Marion Jones – Denies It – Convicted of Perjury and spent 6 months in prison.

The NFL – Ignore it – Maybe you will be lucky and no one will call you on it…maybe.

Mark McGuire – Ignore it then own it – The stain lingers, but will never disappear.

So what is the lesson?  Simple really, just own it.  Good or bad, easy or hard, clean or dirty, just own what you do, the decisions you make and the path you choose.  No one is expected to be perfect.  If there is anything that sports has shown us it is that people will forgive and forget if you just own the mistake.  Admit it, show contrition, learn from it and move forward.  The human capacity for empathy is almost without limit.  Honesty is a powerful thing – everyone gets it.

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