Is Lance Armstrong Considering Doping Confession?

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 5 2013 12:29 PM

Is Lance Armstrong Considering Doping Confession?

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Lance Armstrong is reportedly under pressure from several different people to come clean

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After more than a decade of strongly denying any and all doping charges leveled against him, disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong might be getting ready to change his tune. Maybe. The New York Times was first to report word from “people with direct knowledge of the situation” who claim Armstrong is considering admitting he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his career. The Wall Street Journal corroborated the rumors, although apparently only with a single source. Why would he do this? Armstrong is reportedly under pressure to come clean by wealthy supporters of his charity Livestrong who are eager to move past the controversy and he also wants to be able to compete in triathlons and running events rather than say goodbye to his career.

Armstrong’s longtime attorney Tim Herman denied to the Associated Press that the 41-year-old cancer survivor had reached out either to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency or the World Anti-Doping Agency about a possible confession. But he doesn’t actually deny that Armstrong is considering doing so. Still, any admission of guilt won’t happen anytime in the near future. There are lots of legal hurdles to rowing back a denial Armstrong has sustained for so long, most worrying of which is the possibility that he could face charges of perjury. Before any confession, Armstrong would have to be reassured the Justice Department wouldn’t prosecute. Even then his lifetime ban is unlikely to disappear overnight and it would be at least four years before Armstrong could compete again. 

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.