Hearne: Putting Armstrong / Livestrong Mythologies to Rest

hamilton.r-1Let’s clear up a couple lingering myths…

The first being what some sports junkies like to say to let disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong off the hook for cheating.

That “everybody” was doing it.

Never mind that the head of the U.S. Anti Doping Agency decried that theory, take it from former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton.

“What I found fascinating about watching the (Oprah) interview was the way (Armstrong) tried to frame everything as, ‘Look, I don’t think I was really a cheat because what I was doing was what everybody else was doing. What do you think of that argument?” CNN host Piers Morgan asked Hamilton.

Hamilton’s response:

“You know, I think he was basically trying to say that, ‘Look, it was an even playing field. We were all doping more or less and we were doing the same things, but that’s not true.

“It had a lot to do with money and it had a lot to do with connections. And it had a lot to do with whether you were a risk taker or not.”oprah-lance-armstrong

The other myth went down when Kansas City Star beat writer Tod Palmer incorrectly gave the impression that it was Sporting Kansas City that severed ties with Armstrong’s charity Livestrong on the team’s stadium naming rights deal, not the other way around.

“Sporting Kansas City’s groundbreaking naming-rights arrangement with Livestrong, the cancer-fighting charity launched by embattled cycling champion Lance Armstrong, is history,” Palmer’s Tuesday night report began. “The Major League Soccer club said Tuesday night that it would sever ties with Livestrong, which claimed Sporting KC failed to live up to a financial agreement struck between the two organizations in March 2011.”

Technically speaking that’s true.

lssportingparkWhat Palmer missed though was that it was Livestrong that fired Sporting, not the other way around.

“According to ESPN‘s Darren Rovell, the end of the agreement was actually initiated by Livestrong though,” writes Yahoo Sports Brooks Peck. “And Sporting KC were not living up to the financial terms of their deal.”

Now ESPN’s report:

“The arrangement’s initiation actually came from the Livestrong foundation, whose officials informed the team this week that the club had only paid $250,000 of the $1 million that it owed the foundation in 2012,” ESPN said Tuesday. “Sources say the communication noted that failure to make the foundation whole within two weeks would result in the charity severing the deal.”

After ESPN went public with Livestrong’s ultimatum,  Sporting sent this to ESPN:

“‘We are disappointed to learn Livestrong is deploying tactics designed to force us into an unacceptable arrangement, after months of good faith discussions in which we believed progress had been made,’ said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman in a statement provided to ESPN.com.”

trump-youre-firedThe funny thing was, unlike Palmer, Star sports columnist Sam Mellinger got the story right.

“(Sporting’s) big bet on Lance Armstrong is now officially blown to bits, and for an added kick to the crotch, it’s Armstrong’s old Livestrong foundation that hit the eject button on a unique partnership that turned into a nightmare for the Sporting Club,” Mellinger reported at the same time Palmer had it the other way around. “Livestrong effectively pulled its name off Sporting’s stadium, and then started a public argument over contracts on the way out.”

Unfortunately, one journalistic goof  usually leads to another.

Like this NBC Sports headline:

“KC’s soccer stadium strips ‘Livestrong’ from it’s name”

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5 Responses to Hearne: Putting Armstrong / Livestrong Mythologies to Rest

  1. gerald bostock says:

    have you ever heard of the expression “quit before being fired”?

  2. admin says:

    Gosh Gerald, no. What does that mean?

  3. Mysterious J says:

    Here is a dirty secret: if Cerner Corp. had received what they considered to be a fair offer for stadium naming rights, they would have gotten into a deal where they got someone to pay THEM for the privilege. Since they didn’t, they decided to generate some buzz and goodwill by licensing the name of a charity. Now admittedly they did a RIDICULOUSLY BAD job of choosing a charity for this purpose. There is no excusing that, but the fact that they were willing to pay anyone ANYTHING for something that is generally used as a revenue stream should not be overlooked.

    • Hot Carl says:

      I’m sure the tax break they got for using a charitable organization’s name on their stadium more than made up for them not getting $$ to call it something like Boulevard Beer Sporting Park.

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