Doper, Liar, Cheater: Did Lance Armstrong's PR Move Backfire?
Lance Armstrong might be regretting that interview with Oprah right about now. Sitting down with the expert interviewer to reveal his doping and cheating appears to be backfiring, at least from a PR standpoint.
In the wake of the special, Armstrong is being called a “sociopath” by the Baltimore Sun, a “sniveling, lying, cheating little wretch” by CNN’s Piers Morgan and his “performance was found lacking” by the Los Angeles Times.
The Twittersphere lit up with reactions as stars, athletes and the public responded to his admissions.
Olympian Nick Symmonds wrote, "Yeah that's probably enough of Lance for one night. Some of us will actually get up early and put in the hard, honest work. #CleanSport"
Comedian Albert Brooks, joked, "When I rode tandem with Lance Armstrong I was on nothing."
ESPN NFL business analyst and NFL columnist Andrew Brandt, tweeted, "Lance 'I controlled every outcome of my life.' Including, he hopes, this one."
Reputation.com spin doctor Howard Bragman has some advice for the former hero: "Shut up!" Howard told "Extra," "The more interviews you do, the nastier the questions are going to get. His legacy is going to be the guy who cheated. I do think think there will be a measure of forgiveness. We have to remember, he's done some good."
In the much-publicized, two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey which began airing Thursday, the veteran TV host asked right at the start if he took performance-enhancing drugs, to which Armstrong definitively answered yes.
At one point, Winfrey asked if the doping and lying felt wrong or if he felt bad about it, and he said “No.” She continued, "Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?" Again, Lance answered, “No.”
"I went and looked up the definition of cheat," he added a moment later. "And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field."
As the leader of his cycling team, Armstrong, who has since been stripped of seven Tour de France titles, said he was a bully at times with his former teammates, but that he did not force them to dope in order to perform to the best of ability. He also said he was clean when he raced in 2009 and 2010. Watch the interview here.
The second part of “Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive” will air Friday, Jan. 18 at 9 PM. The interview will also be simultaneously streamed live on Oprah.com. In the next installment, Lance opens up about the loss of lucrative sponsorships like Nike, and disappointing the most important people in his life, including Livestrong supporters, his children and his mother. Check out the sneak peek below.