Despite a looming mountain of legal obstacles, Lance Armstrong is considering admitting he doped during his professional cycling career in an effort to restart his career as a triathlete, according to a New York Times report.
The New York Times' Juliet Macur reports Armstrong has begun to look at what a public doping confession would mean for him. He's reportedly already sat down with one member of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to negotiate lessening his current lifetime ban from athletics. His lawyer denied this much to the Times, the Associated Press, and the Wall Street Journal. Reviving his running and triathlon career is apparently one of his biggest motivations, along with restoring some of his good name. Saving Livestrong, the charity organization he quit amid doping allegations to try and save, is another motivating factor.
But the potential legal battles might keep him from coming clean at all. The British Sunday Times is suing Armstrong over a libel payment. Armstrong sued the paper after they printed accusations he was doping. (Awkward.) There's also a lawsuit from former teammate Floyd Landis, and one of their sponsors is looking to recoup years of money given to the team with the explicit understanding they weren't doping. (Awkward.)
But the biggest legal hurdle keeping Armstrong from admitting everything is the potential perjury charge he would face:
But what worries Armstrong and his lawyers most, two of the people with knowledge of the situation said, is that he could face charges of perjury if he confesses because in sworn testimony in the SCA case he said he had never doped.
Before coming forward, Armstrong would need assurances from the Justice Department that he would not be prosecuted for those crimes, those two people said.
So, that's that. We may never hear from Armstrong. He's currently taking time away from the spotlight with his family in Hawaii. But he's at least thinking about coming forward. These leaks are the first in a long push to restore Armstrong's once-great name.
It can be easy to forget that, amid the hoopla, Armstrong never admitted anything. He was banned from cycling for life, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, accused of running the most sophisticated doping ring ever, stripped of his biggest sponsorships, and forced to quit his namesake charity organization -- for something he never admitted doing. He maintained his innocence through it all. That's quite the public tar-and-feathering. We wouldn't be shocked if Armstrong was content to stay in shadows of Hawaiian palm trees and communicate with the rest of the world only through Twitter after all that.