http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/8310275/armstrong-worth-honoringI'm wearing something yellow Friday for Lance Armstrong. Not because I think he's innocent. He just gave up his chance to prove his innocence, so I suppose he isn't.
But I don't care. I'm wearing yellow just to say thank you. If he cheated in a sport where cheating is as common as eating, then I'm wearing yellow to thank him for everything he's done since he cheated.
I'm wearing something yellow for the way he changed cancer in this country from dread to hope. I'm wearing something yellow for everybody who got their chilling cancer diagnosis and said to themselves, "Lance did it. Why can't I?"
Want to join me?
Dig out your old Livestrong bracelet. Wear a yellow scarf, yellow socks, watch "Old Yeller." Just make yellow a part of your Friday.
Yes, the United States Anti-Doping Association -- riding roughshod on slippery rules and sketchy standards -- declared Armstrong guilty of doping. Then last Friday, Armstrong stopped fighting them. "Enough is enough," he wrote. It might as well have been a firing squad. It was that one-sided.
When a man who never quits finally quits, you don't know how to feel.
"It was a somber moment," says his agent, Bill Stapleton. "He looked at his options and it was like, 'Which one is the best worst?' You can't go on with these kind of legal bills, with people tearing apart your work. It was just too hard on his family."
Sure, Armstrong could go to arbitration. But he's already spent over $5 million on his defense, according to friends. And would you go to arbitration, knowing that USADA sets up the rules of arbitration, sets up the rules of what can be admitted into arbitration and approves the arbitrators? Would you go, knowing it could take two or three more years? Knowing that even if you won, USADA could appeal?
So, yes, USADA has stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles even though nobody's still quite sure they can strip him. If Switzerland investigates Roger Federer and finds he doped, can it take away his U.S. Open trophies?
It's all ugly. The whole sport is ugly. If the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's governing body, upholds the penalty, do you realize that 14 of the last 17 TdF winners would be expunged? And what will they do with them? In five of Armstrong's seven wins, the second-place finishers were implicated in doping scandals of their own. One year -- 2003 -- you have to fish down to fifth place to find somebody clean.
Essentially, this is cycling: If you can get on your bike and make it around your local reservoir without doping, you might have just won next year's Tour de France.
So Lance Armstrong may have cheated, just like everybody else. Or maybe he gave up the fight because the whole thing was more crooked than San Francisco's Lombard St. After all, USADA convicted him on hearsay, not proof. They don't have a single failed sample to hang their hats on -- Armstrong has never failed one -- so they took the word of riders like self-admitted liar Floyd Landis. The whole thing, all their evidence, is based on testimony, not tests.