First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

Is it fair to lump Lance Armstrong and Jerry Sandusky in the same narrative?

Before you cringe and react to the obvious — Sandusky is spending the rest of his life in prison for heinous crimes against children, while Armstrong is merely a disgraced former world-class cyclist — let's compare their pasts and presents.

Both men used charitable causes as a basis for their indiscretions: Sandusky operated Second Mile, which was advertised as an outreach to underprivileged children; Armstrong started Livestrong, an organization which raised millions for cancer research and awareness following his recovery from the disease.

Both men were enabled by people in power: Sandusky sexually abused young boys for years because iconic Penn State football coach Joe Paterno stood in the way of an investigation of his former assistant; Armstrong was a millionaire pitchman for globally famous products such as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Oakley and Trek.

Both men were bullies: Sandusky preyed on vulnerable young boys, forcing them to satisfy his needs; Armstrong reportedly threatened many — men and women — who dared to try and expose his lies about performance-enhancing drug use.

Both men did things that crushed the spirit of the weak: Sandusky forever ruined the lives of at least 10 boys; Armstrong sold a tale of deceit — that a deadly illness can be the springboard to being a drug-free seven-time Tour de France champion — to cancer patients all over the world.

Both men live in a state of pathetic denial: Sandusky insists he's the victim of a vast conspiracy and his lawyers are pursing an appeal; Armstrong built a legend on a callous lie, but says he's the victim of a witch hunt.

Both men are getting what they deserve: Sandusky was sentence to at least 30 years in prison; Armstrong is being stripped of all his titles, his corporate supporters are abandoning him and he is plummeting into a pit of disgrace.

GOOD CAREER MOVE: First baseman Prince Fielder wouldn't be the first, um, full-figured guy to win a World Series ring a season after bolting the Milwaukee Brewers for a nine-figure free agent contract.

Fielder, who helped Detroit qualify out of the AL, is walking the same path as CC Sabathia, who won a World Series pitching for the Yankees in 2009.

Rooting for Fielder will be a challenge, just as it was for Sabathia, but for different reasons. Fielder casually abandoned a great situation in Milwaukee because his priority was the ego boost of a $200 million contract. Sabathia, meanwhile, signed with one of the most despised franchises in sports because the Yankees essentially gave him a blank check.

DON'T WORRY YET: The impact of the Packers losing defensive back Charles Woodson to a broken collarbone won't be felt for a while yet.

As he goes about his six-week recovery, Green Bay faces two of the worst offenses in Jacksonville and Arizona and gets a bye. Then comes the dicey part: trips to Detroit and the New York Giants and a home game with Minnesota.

PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Regardless of what happens down the stretch, it looks as though Bill O'Brien of Penn State will be your Big Ten Conference football coach of the year.

That's too bad for Bret Bielema. In a season in which the University of Wisconsin coach could win his third straight league title and take the Badgers to their third consecutive Rose Bowl — something only Bo and Woody have done — he gets overshadowed by a mini-miracle.


Contact Andy Baggot at abaggot@madison.com or 608-252-6175.

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(7) comments

consigliere
consigliere

Look at the tags: Andy Baggot, Jerry Sandusky, Lance Armstrong

Maybe someone will write an article linking the three of you together.. Seriously, this is the worst thing I've read on the internet in a long time.. and I read plenty of garbage just for the amusement.

Utter nonsense from the get-go. "Both men used charitable causes as a basis for their indiscretions" ... STRETCH

myxobolus
myxobolus

Shame on you and your editor for publishing such nonsense. By many of your points, Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa would also share the same ugly parallels to the rapist Sandusky...at least Armstrong raised nearly a half a billion dollars for cancer research. That money saved lives and will save lives in the future. How you could compare a bicyclist who was cheating at the same time as everyone else was with a rapist of children is asinine. This is the best you could do with this story?? You can and should do better...

info
info

You should be ashamed of yourself Andy. One man raped young children, and the other took performance enhancing drugs like 75% of the professional athletes do in sports nowadays and you're comparing the two. I think the better comparison would be Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong if you HAD to write this article.

This is an example of what's wrong with the media nowadays. Write an article to be sensational instead of morally or factually correct. Zero percent of ownership\responsibility or repercussions for this garbage. The Editor and yourself should loose a paycheck for letting this hit your website. You should be embarrassed Andy.

PUITE
PUITE

Andy, all I can say is REALLY? I would expect to read such nonsense in the Onion, but here? One individual destroyed many peoples lives and severely hurt a revered university the other was a cheater and manipulator. I fail to see the parallels. You my friend hurt your credibility when you write in such poor taste.

MadisonMax
MadisonMax

First, any comparison between Sandusky and Armstrong is way beyond odious. Shame on you and your editor, indeed. Sandusky was a sexual predator. Armstrong was one element of a comprehensively corrupt sport, enabled by the big corporate sponsors, certainly, but also by the willful inaction of the sanctioning bodies and the failure of the media to confront the situation. Sandusky's charity was clearly designed to supply him with boys. Livestrong was not designed and did not function as a cover for Armstrong's doping; he didn't need it for that. All the bicycle racers at that level doped, and only in the rarest of cases was anyone caught.

Andy, you wrote things that made clear to me you were one of those who was in denial about Lance Armstrong's obvious use of performance enhancing drugs. Long before the dam burst this year, it was clear what was going on. 2002 Tour de France third-place finisher Raimondas Rumsas convicted all TdF contenders when was caught. Rumsas wasn't caught by a drug test, but by French border police who found a complete range of doping materials in his wife's car as she drove from France back to their home in Italy after the Tour. The failure of testing to catch Rumsas (until a year later) demolished any "I've never tested positive" defense. And Armstrong's long association with doping expert Dr. Michele Ferrari through his championship years was well-reported.

I was always uncomfortable with one element of the cancer narrative, the idea that Armstrong was an example of survival by being strong. My friend Wes didn't die because he was weak in any way, he died because he had an inoperable brain tumor. No amount of strength or courage was going to cure him. But Armstrong wasn't the author of that narrative, and Livestrong has done much good work.

The same sponsors, sanctioning bodies and media who for so long enabled Armstrong and all the others in their doping are now coming down like a ton of bricks on Armstrong. It serves their purposes to characterize the affair as one, rogue player. It wasn't.

loveit
loveit

time for you to move on. How can you even compare the two ? Just another real bad article.

ProfessorBucky
ProfessorBucky

The fact that you would even compare a guy who cheated at bike racing to someone who molested, raped and tortured dozens of children is outrageous. Shame on you and your editor.

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